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Chance for another winter storm next week

February 20, 2014

A winter storm is forecast for mid-to-late next week, perhaps with significant moisture, like this scene on Old Mammoth Road in early February. It's time for that snow dance again! Photo/Wendilyn Grasseschi

Weather forecasters are pointing toward a possible big break in the high- pressure ridge blocking the storm track next week, giving the Eastern Sierra its best chance at another significant storm.

"The global models all have pretty much the same scenario with a break through of the westerlies next Wednesday night..." wrote Mammoth's amateur weather forecaster Howard Scheckter. "The EC this morning has two important waves for consideration. One Wednesday night, (Feb. 26), and the other, Saturday night, March 1," he said.

This is the first time the models have aligned in the last few days, he said.

“There is a pretty strong potential for a system in the Gulf of Alaska to ‘open the storm door,” said Mike McGuire, a forecaster based in the Reno office of the National Weather Service Wednesday.

“What we don’t know right now is whether the storm that comes in, around next Wednesday (Feb. 26) will bring with it the moisture forecast in the European model or the American models.”

“The extended forecast does look fairly active,” he said. “It will continue to be active into the end of the month and into early March."

Sheckter said some patterns in the weather that can bring decent storms to the Sierra are lining up in a way he has not seen for most of the dry winter.

“What the Dweebs like about this possibility is that the MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation) moves into phase space 7 then 8 over the next week, which supports the Eastern extension of the Asian jet (stream) to the West Coast, " he wrote. "The ECMWF (European weather model) shows the break through as well, and paints up to nine inches of water over the South Central Sierra on Tuesday’s run. That would be quite the wet pattern for California. A hint may come beforehand as we may hear about reports of heavy rains over the Hawaiian Islands early next week.”

On Wednesday, as the Mammoth Times went to press, the Hawaiian Islands were, indeed, forecast to get some heavy rain and Sheckter upped the chances for the dry pattern to break—with a caveat.

“This forward thinking long-range chatter is not a forecast. The winter has been dry and the persistence of the dry pattern is usually the most likely scenario in a year like this one. However, the Dweebs will also give you “Maverick Thinking”. It is what we do that is most enjoyable. So take it with a grain of thought… and while Mother Nature plays out her game, it is the bottom of the 6th inning with three left to score. Lets hope she scores big at the top of the 7th as we go into the first week of March.”

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