Huge storms could deliver 20 feet of snow to California in a week

Think back to the best powder day you’ve ever scored. A day where the heavens opened up and covered whatever mountain you were on in a seemingly endless amount of snow.

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Do you have a solid mental image in your head? Good, because chances are it pales in comparison to the series of storms rolling through California that have the potential to cover the peaks of the state’s Sierra Nevada mountain range with as much as 20 feet of snow in the next week:

And here comes the big one[s]! How much snow do you think we'll get by Monday? #monsterstorms #letitsnow #mammothstories

A video posted by Mammoth Mountain (@mammothmountain) on

That’s not a typo. 20 feet of fresh snow in under a week.

Keep in mind that over the past handful of drought-stricken years in California, there have been entire winter seasons that didn’t get 20 feet of snow at some mountains.

Just take a look at the seven-day precipitation forecast map from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

california snow california snow forecast

That big yellow/orange/red/purple blob on the left? That’s a whole lot of water. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA

That 19.1 number in the center of California is right near Mammoth Mountain and represents the total potential of precipitation, in inches, that a series of three atmospheric river storms could dump on the area.

Using the common 10:1 ratio of snow-to-water, that translates into the potential for 191 inches in the area by next Wednesday. And if you’re worried that potential might not turn into reality, Mammoth Mountain reported that the summit of the mountain has already been hit with four feet in the past day.

But as they say, seeing is believing, so feast your eyes on some of the images of what the storms have already gifted the mountain:

California Snow Forecast

Crews in Mammoth are hard at work trying to get a handle on all the snowfall. Photo: Courtesy of Peter Morning/Mammoth

California Snow Forecast

The mountain could be facing whiteout conditions for the next week straight. Photo: Courtesy of Peter Morning/Mammoth

California Snow Forecast

Mammoth’s famed wooly statue is struggling to stay above the snow line. Photo: Courtesy of Peter Morning/Mammoth

All of these storms actually have the potential to make life more difficult for operators at some of California’s resorts.

A spokesperson from Mammoth told GrindTV that, if this current series of storms dumps close to what they’re capable of, crews will have to scramble just to be able to keep lower lifts open.