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Friday October 31st 2014 9:53am

Summary:

Everything is on track for a cold system to push in rain and snow this afternoon with snow levels falling to lake level tonight.  Snow showers are expected tomorrow and then clearing and warming Sunday into next week.  The next chance of rain/snow will be Thu-Fri, but it's not a good chance right now.

Details:

Last night the forecast models all lined up briefly showing 9-12 inches across the basin above 7000 ft., with 12-15 along the crest and up to 18 near Donner Summit. 

But....they have all shifted on the latest runs this morning back to what they had 2 days ago.  I thought it was a fluke when I looked at the Canadian run pushing most of the precip to our South, but then the Euro, GFS, and NAM all showed the same.  The bulk of the energy has continued to be forecast to be South near Mammoth as the jet stream dives in to our South and they are better aligned for orographic enhancement from a system with Southerly flow like this one.  Yesterday the forecast models showed a second wave behind the front with more of a Westerly flow on Saturday that would bring several more inches.  This morning they are showing this to be much weaker with just light snow showers.

Look at how the Canadian has switched back this morning...

canadian model

And the NAM is doing the same...

NAM model

Without the secondary wave of snowfall Saturday morning there would be heavy shadowing East of the crest.  The heaviest snow looks to fall West of the lake along the crest and South of the lake.  The GFS is now the outlier with the heaviest snow behind the front overnight into Saturday morning.  It still shows 6-9 inches above 7000 ft. on the East side of the basin, 9-12 inches on the West side, with up to 15 possible on the highest peaks West of the lake along the crest.  At lake level 2-6 inches.

The rest of the model runs limit the snowfall behind the front and push the heaviest precip to our South.  They show enough liquid for around 3-6 inches above 7000 ft. on the East side of the basin, 6-9 inches on the West side, with up to 12 inches on the highest peaks West of the lake along the crest.  The best shot at seeing a foot looks to be above 8000 ft. near Donner Summit and Southwest of the lake near Kirkwood.  At lake level since most of the precip falls with the cold front it will rain for a while.  Depending on your elevation a hundred feet or so could be the difference between 3 inches or an inch, but a general 1-3 inches is expected.

The precip should begin falling across the basin by mid-afternoon.  Snow levels start near 8000 ft. but quickly fall to 7000 as the precip gets going.  Then to lake level later this evening.  Snow showers are expected Saturday, especially in the morning.  Temps will rise above freezing Saturday melting any snow that falls at lake level.

Sunday we clear out.  Temps start out cool on Sunday in the 40's but we will be back into the 60's by midweek.  The next trough tries to push into the West Coast by Thursday into Friday.  The GFS has a ridge off the coast pushing the storm just to our North.  The Euro tries to dig the trough farther South with some light precip for us.

Long-Range:

Looking at the CFSv2 climate model it now has November starting out a little drier with only chances of light precip.  It shows the storm track to our North to start the month and then lowering down the West Coast as we go through November into December.  It basically shows it getting stormier and stormier the closer we get to towards Winter.  As much as you can trust a long-range climate model........

Stay tuned....BA

 P.S. the maps from TWD are still available on the Tahoe Info page. 

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Thursday October 30th 2014 9:41am

Summary:

Storm pushes in Friday with falling snow levels and several inches of snow possible for all elevations by Saturday morning.  Snow showers around Saturday and then clearing and warming Sunday into next week.  Next chance of snow is the following weekend.

Details:

A few positive changes in the past 24 hours.  The forecast models are holding the system together a little better.  Still the most snow is expected to our South near Mammoth, but higher amounts are possible further North now.  Take a look at the dramatic change on the Canadian model for total precip forecasted.  Here is yesterday morning....

canadian

And now this morning from the same model.....

canadian

The main reason the precip forecasts are increasing on the Canadian and European forecast models is that they have a second wave moving through on Saturday adding to what falls Friday afternoon and night with the cold front.  Using just these 2 models I would put the snowfall forecast at 6-9 inches above 7000 ft. on the East side of the Tahoe basin, 9-12 inches on the West side, with the highest peaks West of the lake along the crest possibly hitting 15 inches.  The snow levels will fall below lake level Friday night but some of the precip falls as rain initially so the snowfall amounts will be less.  The snowfall during the day Saturday may also have a harder time sticking if temperatures are above freezing.  Still, 3-6 inches could fall at lake level possibly up to 9 inches along and West of highway 89.

Looking at the low end of the spectrum the GFS model is still pushing most of the precip to the South of us, and it doesn't bring in another wave of snow on Saturday just scattered showers.  The GFS only has enough total precip forecasted for 3-6 inches above 7000 ft. on the East side of the Tahoe basin and 6-9 inches on the West side, with up to 12 inches on the highest peaks along the crest West of the lake.  At lake level 1-3 inches with up to 6 along and West of 89. This is the forecast I was going with yesterday, but now the Euro and Canadian are the middle ground.  Here is the GFS precip forecast.

gfs

What is most interesting is the outlier to the high side.  The NAM also has snowfall through Saturday but it has up to an inch and a half of total liquid in a bullseye near Donner Summit.  If this were to verify we could see 9-12 inches above 7000 ft. on the East side of the Tahoe basin above 7000 ft., 12-15 inches on the West side, and up to 18 inches in the bullseye near Donner Summit above 8000 ft.  At lake level 6-9 inches with up to 12 Along and West of 89.  Here is the NAM total precip forecast through Saturday.

nam

I don't always go through every model in the forecast, but I like to show what I am seeing.  The GFS is the outlier on the low end and the NAM on the high end, but either could happen.  I normally go with the average or the models in the middle for my resort specific snowfall forecasts.  This time being the European and Canadian models. 

So for now I am expecting rain and snow to arrive by Friday afternoon.  Turning to snow overnight for all elevetions.  Then another wave of snow or snow showers through the day on Saturday.  3-6 inches of total snowfall is possible at lake level.  6-9 inches is possible on the mountains above 7000 ft. on the East side of the basin and 9-12 on the West side.  A few peaks could pick up to 15 inches on the West side of the basin above 8000 ft. along the crest.  The NWS has a Winter Storm Watch posted currently for the Tahoe area for Friday into Saturday.

We clear out by Sunday and warm up into next week, back near 60 by Wednesday.

Long-Range:

The next chance of precip looks to be the weekend of the 7th -9th.  The ridge may breakdown again allowing another trough to push through the West Coast. 

Stay tuned.....BA

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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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