Big Storm Tonight/Tomorrow Followed by Another Week of Storms

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

This is getting ridiculous.
When the sober-minded National Weather Service stated that Mammoth has “outrageous” amounts of snow this past weekend, it was a clear sign that Mammothites have good reason to be exhausted.
Unfortunately for at least the storm-battered humans of the town – drought-battered trees, meadows and desert might have a different take – it’s not over yet.
Even as the Eastern Sierra battened down the hatches Monday, Feb. 20, for a storm that is forecast to dump between four and five feet of snow on Mammoth Mountain by Tuesday evening, a brand-new forecast Monday morning showed signs of yet more storms lining up – not just through Thursday as earlier forecast, but beyond this week.
“This is a new development today,” said Mammoth forecaster Howard Sheckter. “We are going into a different kind of pattern and it looks like there is another storm Thursday, then another Friday and another into the weekend and into early next week.”
Although none of the storms will be a strong as the atmospheric river storm that will drop the four feet-plus of snow and about five inches of water content in the snow rain on Mammoth Mountain during the next 24 hours, the most recent models indicate more storms will keep coming every other day or so into next week, he said.
That said, this is not a forecast, but rather, a weather outlook, he said.
That means forecasters still do not have a high degree of confidence in the weather patterns beyond this Thursday, but longer range models are showing patterns leading to more storms beyond this week.
Here’s a brief summary of what to expect.
The Monday/Tuesday storm should drop about four-plus feet of snow on Mammoth Mountain, Sheckter said, with two to three feet in the town of Mammoth, depending on the elevation.
“Elevation will make a big difference,” he said, noting that locations in Mammoth above 8,000 feet will get a decent amount more snow that locations at or below 8,000 feet. For example, below 8,000 feet areas will see 10 to 18 inches of snow by Tuesday evening; areas above will see 18 to 36 inches, he said.
Areas below 8,000 feet will get mostly rain, he said, but again, the amount of rain will vary widely, again depending on the elevation.
“Mammoth Mountain is supposed to receive about five inches of precipitation (this is the water content within the snow) but at the 8,200-foot level it will drop off to about three and a quarter inches and at the 8,000-foot level it will be about two point eight inches,” he said.
Then, the next storm arrives tomorrow night as the big, warm atmospheric river exits.
This Tuesday night/Wednesday storm will bring only light amounts of snow and it will be much colder, he said, with between one and three inches iof snow in the forecast for Mammoth.
It will continue to snow lightly Wednesday during the day, with the best break for travelers Thursday.
But even that won’t be a complete break, he said, nor will it last very long.
“There is another storm coming in Friday,” he said, although again, the storm will bring only light snow to Mammoth.
Then, another large, warm, wet storm may be be lining up in the Pacific Ocean and pointed toward California, although the brunt of that storm will be south of Mammoth, he said.
He didn’t yet have an estimate for the amount of snow or rain in the weekend atmospheric river storm, or more details on where it will come ashore.
After that?
Yep, another storm is in the forecast for next Monday. Feb. 27 into Tuesday, Feb. 28, he said.
“This will be a cold, light storm,” he said, noting by Tuesday of next week, the weather should be only “cold and showery.”
Then what?
“Who the heck knows,” he said.