More than four feet of fresh snow was covering Mammoth Mountain on Wednesday morning, with additional snowfall expected tomorrow.
A powerful weather system Tuesday coated mountains across California with much-needed snow and set rainfall records in the drought-stricken state. As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, there was 53 inches of fresh powder on the ground at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Base, according to National Weather Service records, and more is expected Thursday.
The next major weather system will move into the region next week, on Dec. 20, with a current forecast of snowfall for 10 days.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 1 p.m. Thursday in Mono County, including in the cities of Mammoth Lakes, Bridgeport and Coleville. Snow accumulations of two to six inches are expected, with one to two feet in the High Sierra, west of Highway 395. Peak snowfall rates are expected from midnight through 8 a.m. Thursday.
Winds gusting as high as 50 mph are also forecasted in wind prone locations along Highway 395 and up to 100 mph across Sierra Ridges, according the NWS.
The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center in Mammoth Lakes has extended a backcountry avalanche warning for the Eastern Sierra in Inyo County and Mono County through 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Heavy snowfall combined with strong winds and a weak underlying snowpack will likely create widespread areas of unstable snow, the weather service said, adding that large human-triggered and natural avalanches are likely.
Those venturing into the back or side country should exercise extreme caution. Extensive mitigation work within the Mammoth Mountain resort boundaries may delay the opening of terrain as crew’s work to safely open new lifts and trails.
Snow Immersion Suffocation danger is a reality during and following major snowfall, the resort warned, adding that people should ski and ride with a buddy and keep them in sight at all times.
June Mountain, Mammoth’s sister resort, is set to open Saturday.