Weekend weather should be cold, clear for skiing, sledding in Sierra

Snow engulfs Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s North Tahoe Station.
Snow engulfs Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s North Tahoe Station. Placer County Sheriff’s Office

With skies clearing, the conditions in the Sierra Nevada look perfect for a visit to the mountains for what resorts are calling a “Januburied” snow weekend.

The National Weather Service is calling for clear skies Saturday and Sunday. Highs of 32 to 37 degrees are forecast for the greater Lake Tahoe region for both days.

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The weather conditions and snow depth should be enjoyable for visiting the Sierra. Instead of chaining up for a slow, slippery ride into the Sierra, motorists will probably find easy, scenic travel to ski resorts and snow parks.

Travelers will find snow cloaking trees at fairly low elevations on both Highway 50 and Interstate 80. Once arriving at resorts, skiers and snowboarders may have problems finding a parking place close to the lodge so arrive early.

But what they won’t face is a lack of snow. Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows said over the past 45 years the resort has averaged 70 inches of snowfall in January. This month the resort has received 212 inches in the first 20 days.

“This month has been nothing short of historic: We’ve received 23.5 feet of snow this January alone, making it the snowiest month on record for us – our data reaches back 45 years,” said Liesl Kenney, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows’ spokeswoman.

She said the resort is at 85 percent of the average annual snowfall of 450 inches – only 60 days into the season. Kenney estimated that the resort have skiing and snowboard riding late into the spring.

“These storm cycles were unique in their rapid rate of accumulation: we averaged a foot a day over the first 23 days in the New Year, with snowfall rates of over two inches an hour at times,” she said.

The weather should also be exceptional in Sacramento. After tonight’s flirtation with freezing temperatures, conditions warm and stay rain free.

Sunny skies are forecast for the weekend in Sacramento. Daytime high temperatures Friday through Sunday are predicted to be in the mid-50s.

The detailed, seven-day forecasts for the Sierra:

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with isolated snow showers. Highs 23 to 28. Northwest winds around 10 mph in the morning becoming light.

Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 9 below to 1 above zero. Light winds.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning then becoming mostly cloudy. Highs 26 to 31. Light winds.

Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of snow showers in the evening. Lows 10 to 20. Light winds.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Highs 26 to 31. Light winds.

Thursday night: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers. Lows zero to 10 above zero.

Friday and Friday night: Partly cloudy. Highs 29 to 34. Lows 2 below to 8 above zero.

Saturday through Sunday: Clear. Highs 32 to 37. Lows 2 below to 8 above zero.

Sunday night And Monday: Clear. Lows 6 to 16. Highs 31 to 36.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews