Snow is slated to fall on western Nevada County Thursday, as the mercury will continue to descend throughout the week into the weekend, weather officials said Monday.
Around noon Thursday, snow will begin to accumulate at elevations of 2,000 feet and above according to Johnnie Powell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Accumulation is not expected to be significant as the snow will turn to rain overnight into Friday in much of the lower lying areas of the Sierra foothills, Powell said.
Regardless of the form, precipitation will continue to fall on the region through the weekend and up until the Christmas holiday, Powell said. Intermittent rain showers will continue to progress through the area beginning Tuesday with a window of clear weather set to hit Wednesday.
“We’ll probably see a little sun on Wednesday,” Powell said. “If you’re going to do anything, do it on Wednesday.”
While the consistently wet weather has taken the form of rain throughout November and early December, the ski industry has been the beneficiary of persistent snowfall.
“The conditions are ideal right now,” said John Monson, spokesman for Sugar Bowl Resort, which has its base camp positioned at 6,900 feet. “The snow levels have been cooperating.”
The resort is positioned to be open top to bottom and side by side in time for the holiday season, a stark contrast to last ski year, when natural snow was not available for the ski industry until about Valentine’s Day.
“This year, the heavy snow came through and helped build the base, and now we are getting that nice light snow,” Monson said.
Bryan Allegretto, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said snow will continue to fall in the upper elevations of the Sierra.
“At the beginning of (last) week I predicted we could see at least four to five feet of new snow by Christmas on the mountains,” said the forecaster. “That forecast is still looking good.”
The $12 billion snow sports industry is reliant on Mother Nature’s cooperation and often needs the timing to be right.
Last year, water accumulation in the northern Sierra was only slightly below normal according to the California Department of Water Resources, but most of the snow fell in March, April and early May, when many prospective customers have moved on to other activities.
Having a lot of snow for the holiday season is critical, Monson said.
The reason for the spate of precipitation in the late fall is due to an active storm track that has settled over Northern California.
“It’s like cars on a highway, they just keep coming with breaks in between,” Powell said.
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