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Another foot plus of perfect powder for Mammoth Mountain

December 13, 2012

Mammoth Mountain as seen from S.R. 203 at sunrise, Thursday, Dec. 13. The Mountain received 16 inches of new snow since yesterday and now has a total depth of 126 inches, or about 10.5 feet of snow. Photo/Wendilyn Grasseschi

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area received 16 inches of powder since Wednesday, giving the ski area about 126 inches (or about 10.5 feet) of snow since the season began on Oct. 1. The base depth of the mountain is now at 68 inches, or about 5.5 feet. The measurements were taken by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Ski Patrol at Main Lodge, at about 9,000 feet of elevation.

The totals for Wednesday’s storm were something of a surprise; most forecasts had put the total snowfall for the area lower than what actually occurred.

For contrast, last December's total was just two inches, close to a record low (1976-77 was zero). The December before that, the total amount of snow received all month was 196 inches, an all-time high for the month, since record keeping began in 1970.

Looking ahead, both the National Weather Service and Mammoth’s amateur weather forecaster, Howard Sheckter, predict an unsettled weekend and early next week, with a series of smaller storms moving into the area.

“A fairly active weather pattern will remain in place through the weekend,” according to Thursday morning’s NWS forecast discussion for this area. “The progressive storm pattern will allow numerous opportunities for systems to drop out of the Gulf of Alaska and impact the Western U.S. Although confidence is moderate for systems to impact the west, the details of each wave are difficult to determine as model continuity from run-to-run and model-to-model is poor.”

The report states that two models show different chances of precipitation for the Sierra over the next few days and it is still to soon to determine which model will prevail.

Sheckter is also keeping an eye on a long-range pattern that he says might—emphasis on the word “might”—bring a significant storm around the Christmas holiday.

“The Dweebs see yet another storm … slamming the Central Sierra Wednesday night into Thursday, after which the pattern goes into transition to give us possibly a few days break before a new weather type develops,” he posted on his website Thursday morning.

“Although the Dweebs see some kind of system for Christmas Eve/Day… it appears that there will be one more multi-day storm that will be the ‘Grand Finale,’ beginning the 26th and ending that following Friday. Again, this is not for planning purposes... just for fun!”

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