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T-minus 12 hours and counting. I'm pretty excited about this storm because it has been a long time since our last significant storm. December 26, 2012 is the last storm we had that dropped 1-2 feet on the basin. Almost a year ago! Not too many changes this morning other than to slow the storm down with an onset later this evening or even midnight for South Lake. That means don't send me emails at 8 p.m. tonight asking me why it's not snowing at your house yet, just keep staring at the spotlight it will come.
The heaviest snow is expected to fall in the early morning hours. With the slower speed of the storm we will see the snow showers last through the day on Saturday. About 1/4 of the forecasted totals below will fall during the day Saturday with the other 3/4 falling overnight.
No change in the forecast model precip output overnight. The GFS is still a quarter inch lower than all the other models, so I'm going with the majority. The NAM, European, and Canadian models have all been consistent with up to 3/4 of an inch across the Tahoe Basin and up to an inch along the crest. Throw in 20:1+ snow ratios and we should see 10-15 inches at lake level, 15-20 inches above 7000 ft, and up to 2 feet along the crest. Highest amounts on the West side of the basin.
Here is the latest Canadian forecast.
It will be tempting to go off trail tomorrow if you're skiing, but remember this is super light powder over top of bare rocks and logs. I'll be staying up at the lodge on the Summit tonight so I'll keep you updated on the Facebook page with snow totals and pics.
This storm reinforces the cold air through Monday with highs staying in the 20's. The ski resorts will most likely keep making snow around the clock over the weekend and there should be a decent amount of terrain that opens for the first week of December. The flow turns more Westerly as the ridge builds off the coast starting Tuesday so daytime temps start to warm into the 30's and 40's by midweek.
The GFS has come more in line with the Euro and Canadian models with regards to the pattern setup the end of next week. They all break down the ridge off the coast enough for a decent storm to push into CA Thursday into Friday. Some runs suggest another storm on its heels for the weekend of the 14th. They then have the ridge building back in to start the week of the 16th. So only about a 5 day break before our next chance of snow after this storm.
Stay tuned for updates. I will most likely post again this evening if there are any changes. Also, check the CA page for a one stop shop of individual resort forecasts and morning snow reports. The individual resort snowfall forecasts that have the image of the little guy instead of a computer mean that I personally forecast the snow amounts and they are not just computer model generated. BA
Only 36 hours until we get more snow! Snow will start Friday afternoon or evening and end by Saturday morning. The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch for this system.
Not too many changes to the forecast over the past 24 hours. Still not total agreement among the forecast models on total precip amounts for this storm. We do know though that temps will be cold Friday night during the brunt of the storm so snow:water ratios will be near 20:1. That means twice as much snow will pile up as would fall at 32 degrees and 10:1 ratios.
You can see here the difference on model output for precip this morning. First is the GFS and second is the Canadian.
The GFS and NAM runs this morning still show .25 - .5 inches of total liquid in the basin with up to .75 inches along the crest. The Canadian and European models have .5 - .75 for the basin and up to an inch along the crest. For now we'll take an average. That gives us 7-12 inches in the basin and 12-18 inches along the crest. Highest amounts West side of the basin. The NWS Winter Storm Watch is pretty close to those amounts. They are calling for 6-10 inches East side of the basin with up to a foot plus West side and along the crest. This will be blower pow, not good for base building and super light.
This storm will reinforce the cold air keeping highs in the 20's and lows in the single digits into Monday. The flow turns from Northerly to Westerly by next Tuesday and the ridge build off the coast. That will start a slight warming trend back into the 40's.
The GFS is now keeping the ridge off the coast for the end of next week keeping the storm track to our North. It then retrogrades the ridge going into next weekend allowing for some bigger storms into CA. The European runs are still consistent on backing up the ridge by next Thursday and bringing in decent storms into the weekend of the 13th. We should see some more aggreement on how the pattern will setup over the next couple of days.
For now lots of cold and more snow on the way. Stay tuned...BA
A cold morning this morning but it should get even colder tonight. It was 1 degree in Truckee when I left the house at 6:30 and a reader in South Lake sent me message showing -1 around the same time. Tonight's lows may be even a few degrees colder.
Taking a look at snowfall totals the ski resorts are coming in with anywhere from 4-10 inches up top. The heaviest amounts looked to have fallen in a line from Sugar Bowl East to Northstar across the Diamond peak where that heavier band sat yesterday. Lake level reports of 1.5-6 inches with the highest amounts on the South and East sides of the lake. The reno down to Carson city areas picked up 3-8 inches.
The next system is going to drop down the West Coast on Friday. This one has 2 things going for it that are better than this last system. 1) It will be over water longer and will come in over Northern CA with more precip 2) The temperatures will be in the low 20's instead of the mid 30's when the storm arrives. That should mean that we see more snowfall with this next system. The forecast models are not in agreement with the total precip. The GFS has .25-.5 inches of total liquid with up to .75 inches along the crest. The European runs have .5-.75 inches of liquid with up to an inch on the crest. The Canadian is even more aggressive with up to an inch over the basin and over an inch along the crest. If we go with the European in the middle with 15-20:1 ratios we could see 5-10 inches at lake level, 10-15 inches above 7000 ft., and up to 20 inches along the crest. We will need to see some more agreement the next 2 days to get a better idea.
Here is a look at the Canadian precip forecast.
This storm will also bring even more cold air for the weekend with Saturday and Saturday night possibly being the coldest of the weekl. The ridge is going to build off the coast the beginning of next week with no undercutting of the jet. So we will have a break from storms and we will start to warm back up a little.
Later next week some of the Canadian and GFS runs break down the ridge off the coast and build a ridge North of Hawaii. That opens the storm door to lots of storms for us going into mid-month. Some other runs keep the ridge off the coast amplified and the one North of Hawaii weaker which keeps the storm track up into the Pacific NW. The CFS climate forecast for December last night was showing above average precip for us mid-month. We will have to wait and see if this can setup right for big snow before the holidays.
Here is a look at the Canadian for the end of next week.
Say your prayers...BA
The cold front has slowed a little overnight. Snow levels are below lake level but temps are just above freezing still at 6000 ft. The heaviest snow bands ahead of the front setup South of Truckee over and South of the lake early this morning. The heaviest snowfall so far has been on the South side of the lake. The heavier snow and colder temps will move in later this morning. Ski resorts reporting 1-4 inches so far up top.
Forecast models also trimmed back total precip forecasts overnight. They are now only showing isolated areas of .5-.75 inches of liquid instead of over the entire area. That would bring us back closer to the original snowfall forecast of 3-6 inches at lake level and 6-9 inches on the mountains. There could be some isolated spots that get slightly more depending on where the heaviest snow bands setup. So far about an inch here on Donner Summit. Be sure to comment your totals so we can get a good idea of what fell around the lake.
The snow should taper off by this evening but in its wake lots of cold air will be with us into the weekend. Highs only in the 20's and lows in the single digits. Some of the lowest valleys will approach zero. With the cold air already in place it will make the next system for Friday night into Saturday a little more interesting.
The forecast models are not in agreement on how much moisture this system will bring. The GFS is the weakest and the Canadian is still the strongest. Taking an average of the latest model runs it looks like we could see a general 6-12 inches over the Tahoe area. We will look at this system closer tomorrow after this current storm.
Up until the latest runs this morning the forecast models were still showing high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and the jet stream cutting underneath into CA on Monday. The GFS had a pretty decent 3 day event. The models have all shifted this morning now showing the high pressure shifting South off the CA coast and the jet trying to punch through but weakening as it does. That would mean light or no amounts of precip. We will continue to watch the trend on this.
By the middle of next week the GFS and the European ensembles have the ridge off the coast retrograding and flattening and a large area of low pressure in the Northeast Pacific. They have the jet stream aimed at CA with several storms. The European deterministic runs have the jet just to our North and we are on the warm side with lighter precip and higher snow levels. The Canadian keeps the ridge off the coast and the storms to our North. The GFS has been pretty consistent and the European ensembles tend to be one of the more accurate long-range models, so we will be keeping an eye on the potential stormy pattern developing a week from now.
Of note is several of the forecast models strengthen the MJO into phase 2 and 3 over the next 2 weeks. That would support development of a wetter pattern over CA as well.
Stay tuned for updates, I update live throughout the storms with pics and videos on the Facebook page. Also be sure to check to CA page everyday for all the resorts snowfall totals, snowfall forecasts, and web cams all in one spot...BA
Snow and cold move in tonight with the cold lasting through the weekend. More snow possible this weekend and again next week.
Sorry for the late post this morning. With the low occupancy here at the lodge I gave the chef the day off and attempted to cook the breakfast for the guests. Good news is I was able to look at the 12z model runs before posting. I actually posted at 11:19 a.m. but it time stamps the posts in Mountain time zone, hoping to fix that when we launch the new site this month. Lots to go over this morning and it's all positive if you like cold and snow.
The biggest change overnight on the forecast models is they are slowing down the progression of the cold front as it move through tomorrow. Since the cold front is the main producer of the snowfall that would prolong the snowfall slightly and increase amounts slightly. All the forecast models except the NAM increased precip forecast totals by about a quarter of an inch overnight, but now the latest 12z NAM is on board. That is not much of an increase but would increase the lake level forecast by a few inches and with the high snow ratios with the cold air on the mountains it could increase their forecast by as much as 6 inches up top. I told you these types of systems always seem to have some surprises up their sleeve!
The winds are starting to pick up as the front moves down from the North. Snowfall could start as early as midnight, but the heaviest snowfall is expected Tuesday morning. With the slowing of the front snow showers could stick around through Tuesday evening. Forecast totals are now 5-9 inches for lake level, with 8-12 inches above 7000 ft. Above 8000 ft. there is an outside chance someone breaks a foot up top, especially South side of the lake. Lots of pretty graphs for you today.
Here is the GFS total precip through Tuesday evening. Multiply by 12 for lake level and 15-20 for the mountains for snowfall inches.
And here is the GFS total snowfall forecast assuming 10:1 ratios. I did mark tomorrow as a powder alert on the CA and NV pages or for snowfall forecasts for the ski resorts with the slight increase in potential snowfall.
It stays cold in the 20's for highs into the weekend so I would expect around the clock snow making at the ski resorts. Lows at night in the single digits to below zero, especially with the fresh snowcover.
Another low is going to slide down the West Coast and then inland Friday night. The question is how long is it over water before coming inland and how much moisture can it pick up. The GFS and European models have it coming inland over the Pacific NW like the storm today and then sliding down over the Sierra similar to tomorrow. That would bring another 3-6 inches Friday night. The Canadian has it over water a little longer and coming in over Northern CA. It has up to an inch of liquid with that scenario. It's something to watch as the Canadian would bring in amounts closer to a foot.
Here is the Canadian precip forecast for the Friday night system.
Over the weekend a ridge starts to build over Alaska or just South in the Gulf of Alaska along 140w. The jetstream is going to try and cut under the ridge into CA on Monday to bring us a quick hitting system. The European and Canadian models have the ridge pushing South on Monday as low pressure moves into the Gulf of Alaska. That would either block the storm or push it into Southern CA. The GFS has been consistent with bringing the system straight into North/Central CA with a direct hit on Tahoe. The latest run even has a cold low working down the West coast and joining forces with the jet coming in under the ridge prolonging the snowfall into Tuesday. With the forecast models not agreeing confidence is very low right now. If the GFS wins the fight we could see another 1-2 feet with this storm.
Here is the GFS total precip forecast and total snowfall forecast through next Tuesday.
So to recap all that. A general 6-12 inches for the Tahoe Basin is expected tomorrow followed by very cold air into the weekend. Another 3-6 inches possible Friday night with a weak system with the outside chance of a bit more if the system stay over water longer. Then a 50/50 chance of decent storm next Monday depending on how far North the ridge sets up in the Northeast Pacific allowing the jet stream to cut underneath.
Looking at the very unreliable long-range models (especially as of late), the trend is for retrogression and flattening of the ridge off the coast later next week possibly allowing some more storms into CA as we head towards mid-month. That pattern lines up with the PNA pattern forecast to go more negative as we head into December.
Stay tuned for updates and stay warm....BA