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Wednesday October 29th 2014 9:21am

Summary:

Nice weather this week will give way to a cold storm moving in Friday.  Expecting snow for all elevations by Friday night as the cold front moves through, but nothing significant.  Skies should begin to clear by Saturday afternoon with warmer and drier weather going into next week.  Another system possible by the end of next week.

Details:

I have been seeing a lot of hype on media outlets for the weak system moving in on Friday.  Seems like a setup to be let down to me.  You don't normally ski this time of year on your rock skis unless we see 2 feet fall, a foot if you are crazy.  We will be lucky to hit 12 inches on the highest peaks along the crest with this storm looking model runs.  By Winter standards this system would just be a refresher for the slopes.  I'll let you know when it's time to get hyped, but this is not the storm.

It will be the first chance of measurable snow at lake level though and I'm excited to see any snow.  The forecast hasn't changed much this week.  The main changes over the last 36 hours are that the system looks a bit slower to arrive Friday, and more likely to split with the heaviest precip headed to our South near Mammoth.

The precip should begin Friday afternoon beginning along the crest and then pushing into the Tahoe Basin as the cold front pushes through into Friday night.  Snow levels start high but quickly drop to lake level Friday night.  The forecast models are showing the system splitting more as the jet stream is to our South and the heaviest precip shifts quickly into Mono County.  The Canadian model shows most of the precip staying to our South with just a few inches along the crest West of the lake and dusting for the basin.

canadian model

The European forecast model is on the other end of the spectrum, holding the system together a little better and has it hanging around a bit longer into Saturday.  With that scenario we could see 3-6 inches above 7000 feet on the East side of the lake and 6-9 inches on the West side, with an outside chance of up to 12 inches on the highest peaks West of the lake along the crest.

For now I am going to stick with the GFS which is in between the two and is in line with my forecast from Monday.  It splits the system with most of the precip going to our South, but brings in enough for 1-3 inches above 7000 feet on the East side of the basin and 3-6 inches on the West side, with up to 9 possible on the highest peaks West of the lake.  At lake level a coating to an inch possible on the East side of the basin and 1-3 inches on the West side along 89.  These snowfall forecast maps don't work very well, but here is the GFS snowfall forecast.  Should be higher amounts shown for Tahoe and for Mammoth based on the precip forecast and snow levels.

gfs snow forecast

So not a big system but one to whiten the mountains and get us stoked for Winter.  We will have to watch the system closely as it gets closer on Friday.  The Canadian scenario with a dusting and European with up to a foot on the crest are both possibilities we will have to watch for.

Long-Range:

We warm up and dry out starting Sunday into next week.  The next chance of snow is another storm moving into the West Coast by the end of next week.  The pattern does look active into November, especially to our North.  Hopefully the storm track is far enough South to get Winter started early.

Stay tuned, stay grounded.....BA

P.S.  I have been posting every other day or so.  I will post daily during storms and then go to full Daily Snow status once the ski resorts start to open in November. 

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Monday October 27th 2014 11:32pm

Summary:

Nice weather this week will quickly change on Friday as a cold front pushes through bringing snow to all elevations in the Tahoe basin and much colder air.  The weather looks quiet again week 2, but more active as we move into November.

Details:

We saw snow showers down near lake level on Saturday.  On the mountains above 7000 ft. we saw an inch or two of snow, including over some of the passes.   Some people were not watching the forecasts and were caught off-guard.

The ridge has built in off the coast and the weather has turned dry and warm again this week.  That will change this weekend.  The ridge will slide East with the Pacific ridge to the North of Hawaii.  Low pressure will drop down from the Gulf of Alaska into the Pacific NW with lots of cold air as a cold trough digs down the West Coast.  The latest model runs have the system pushing moisture in along the crest as early as Friday morning and into the basin by afternoon.  Snow levels will quickly drop to lake level as the cold front pushes through Friday afternoon.

Here is a look at the system pushing in Friday on the Canadian forecast model.

canadian

Total precip on the models is not that impressive, but we could see accumulating snow for all elevations.  Snow showers could last Friday night into Saturday morning.  Total snowfall guestimates based on the latest model runs is 1-3 inches at lake level, 3-6 inches above 7000 ft., and up to 9 inches West of the lake along the Sierra Crest.  Those are subject to change of course as we get closer.  The GFS forecast model was a bit wetter earlier today but has pulled back more in line with the European model this evening.  

GFS total precip forecast

gfs

Candian total precip forecast

cmc

As usual the Canadian is the most agressive with a few extra inches for each elevation.

Long-Range:

Models are showing the ridge building back in off the coast pushing the storm track back to the North to start week 2.  Then the pattern setting up similar to this weekend by the end of the week with another system possibly bringing more snow.  

As we have been discussing the climate models continue show a wet November for Northern CA.  It could be a good start to the season if it pans out.  I meant to show the CFSv2 total precip forecast for the next 45 days on Saturday but forecast to add it to the post.  It looks even better today showing up to 9 inches of liquid near the Tahoe Basin.

cfs

Trying not to get too excited, especially after the last few years.  We will watch closely over the next few weeks.  

Pray for snow....BA

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Saturday October 25th 2014 10:39am

Summary:

A cold front will move through today with rain and mountain snow.  Snow levels will drop near 7000 ft. during the quick precip event and then close to lake level after most of the precip moves out.  An inch or two of snow is possible above 7000 ft. and a few inches above 8000 ft.  The ridge rebuilds off the coast with dry conditions this week and then another cool system could bring several inches of snow to the mountains next weekend.

Details:

The cold front is working its way across Northern CA this morning.  It will move through Tahoe area this afternoon and evening.  The forecast models show the precip band falling apart as it crosses the area.  Still, we should see some light rain showers in the basin.  Up along the crest on the West side of the basin we could see an inch or two of snow above 7000 ft. as high snow levels drop near 7000 ft. with the front.  Above 8000 ft. a few inches could accumulate.  The European model holds onto the showers a little longer tonight and has a better chance of a few inches of snow on the mountains.  On the East side of the basin a dusting of snow is possible on the mountains.

The ridge rebuilds off the coast this week keeping the storms to our North into the Pacific NW.  The forecast models are in good agreement that the ridge shifts East and a trough digs down the West Coast next weekend.  What happens with the system moving into the West Coast changes run to run on the models and we are still a week out.  Right now they show the potential for a cold system with several inches of snow on the mountains and some snow possible to lake level next weekend.  Should have a better idea in a couple of days.  

Long-Range:

The pattern looks like it could stay active into November.  The European weeklies forecast from Thursday had trough after trough pushing into the West Coast with the ridge staying up over Alaska in November.  The CFSv2 model runs the last few days are drier than they were a few days ago for November, but the 10 day average is still for normal or better precip in November.  Right now I am feeling good about November, mainly because none of the models show a big ridge keeping us dry for weeks.  Fingers crossed....

Stay tuned....BA

 

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Tuesday October 21st 2014 5:33pm

From 8 a.m. Forgot to hit Submit...

Summary:

The first system moved through overnight leaving a dusting of snow on the mountains and cold air in its wake. The jestream will setup over Northern CA on Thursday with rain just to our North. Over the weekend low pressure moving into the Pacific NW will push a front and the precip through the area with rain and mountain snow with falling snow levels.

Details:

Woke up to a very light dusting on the mountains West of the basin along the crest. Temperatures this morning are only in the 20's in Truckee. The weather will stay active this week with the jetstream setting up a river or moisture across Northern CA Thursday. The models all keep the precip just to our North through Friday so we should stay dry but may have some clouds and windy conditions.

Friday night an upper low approaches the Pacific NW and moves inland over the weekend. This will push a front and precip through the area. The GFS forecast model pushes the precip through Friday night into Saturday with most of the precip to our North. The European and Canadian models show the system possibly splitting with the precip pushing further South into our area and down the Sierra. They are also slower with the precip coming Saturday into Saturday night.

The snow levels will start high but could drop down near 7000 ft. during the event and to lake level at the end as the colder air behind the front moves through. Here is the GFS precip forecast with light amounts for us.

gfs

This scenario would be similar to last night with a dusting of snow possible for the mountain tops. Now here is the normally over aggressive Canadian forecast model for total precip through Sunday.

cmc

Not buying this much precip. The Euro is in the middle of the road with around a half inch of liquid possible. If the system starts to split and more precip makes its way further South we could see several inches of snow on the mountains above 7000 ft. Saturday into Saturday night.

Long Range:

The pattern looks like it will stay active to our North in the Pacific NW week 2. This is normal in the early season as the jetstream is still further North. I showed the CFS November forecast for precip in the last post which this week has been showing a wet month for CA against the average.

We can also look at a few of the latest model forecasts for Winter precip Dec-Feb. First here is the latest JAMSTEC run showing the above average precip further North now into Northern CA vs. some of its previous runs.

jamstec

And the UKMET showing a similar pattern with a Northern CA bullseye.

ukmet

And the CFSv2 with a wet CA.

cfs

So some good signs on the climate model forecasts coming out this week. The problem with long-range climate models though is that you should trust them as far as you can throw them. They miss the mark often in the Fall.

One of the big differences this season is that there is not a warm pool of water off the coast. It is along the West Coast. The climate models have a trough off the coast for the Winter and not a ridge. They have the ridge along over the Pacific NW up into Western Canada and try to push the trough into CA for the Winter.

On the other side looking at the analog years 03-04 and 76-77 look very similar to the pattern we could have this Winter and both were below average snowfall year. Like the Winter forecast showed in the last post the SW has a much better chance of seeing above average precip. For Northern CA it still looks like there are as many factors that could bring us a dry Winter as a wet one. For now let’s at least hope for an average precip season and snowfall season.

Stay tuned….BA

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Sunday October 19th 2014 5:58pm

Summary:

A change in the weather Monday into Monday night.  Light precip possible with snow levels dropping near 7000 ft. or slightly lower.  Warmer weather the second half of the week before another system is possible next weekend.

Details:

After several days of quiet weather we will see another change tomorrow as low pressure moves in off the Pacific.  Not expecting a lot of moisture from this system, just some light precip.  The center of the low will be cold so we will see snow levels drop around 7000 ft. Monday evening, possibly a bit lower.  That should only equate to a dusting of snow on the moutains when we wake up Tuesday morning.  Here is a look at the total precip forecast from Canadian model which is one of the more aggressive runs.

The system clears out by Tuesday but leaves behind some colder air.  We will warm up the second half of the week back into the 60's at lake level.  

The trend on the models the past 24 hours is for another system to dig down the West Coast next weekend.  This one could bring heavier precip if it digs far enough South.  All of the forecast models show a chance for precip next weekend but the Canadian is the most agressive with precip amounts right now.  Snow levels could be low enoug for mountain snow with this system if it pans out.

cmc

Looking at the long-range pattern there are no signs right now of a long-term ridge that would keep us dry for a prolonged period.  We could see more troughs push into the West Coast going into November.  The trend on the CFSv2 climate model the last few days is for a wet November.

cfsnov

When we looked at the Winter forecast ideas last month we talked about the possibility of an early start to the storms this Fall with the weak El Nino conditions developing.  The question is how with the rest of the Winter pan out?  My thoughts were and continue to be that we will be right on the edge between above average precip to our South and below average to our North.  The rigde is expected to sit along the West Coast of Canada down to the Pacific NW much of the Winter with the Southern jet coming underneath into Southern CA.  Below is the latest Winter forecast map from accuweather that lines up with what we have been thinking.  

accuweather winter forecast

You can see why we could have a 50/50 chance of an average or below average season for precip.  The second question will be snowfall vs. precip.  Even with an average precip season we will need low snow levels for a good snow year.  Let's hope we can get enough cold and the storm track is far enough North this Winter.  We'll take the precip either way.

Stay tuned....BA

 

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