Sunny and cold today with highs only in the teens on the mountains and 20's at lake level. Lighter winds expected. Partly cloudy with a few flakes possible Wednesday, and highs in the 20's. Thursday the next storm moving through could bring another 2-4 inches at lake level and 4-8 inches on the mountains. It will also bring in more cold air keeping highs in the 20's into Friday as we clear out. For the weekend we should be partly sunny with a chance for scattered snow showers. Highs in the 20's on the upper mountains to 30's at lake level. Next week we could see 2 slightly stronger storms. One Monday-Tuesday and another Wednesday-Thursday. It's too early to look at a specific forecast but each could bring several more inches of snow to the mountains Highs next week look to be in the 30's.
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Short Term Forecast
The snow showers yesterday never really setup any heavy bands for a prolonged period. We had a few ski resorts report up to an inch of new snow. We didn't see a decent lake effect snow band setup either. Here are the final reported totals for the storm.
Here is the keep me honest report that compares the final forecast for the storm from 3 days ago to the final reports this morning. The biggest variances to forecast were Mt. Rose and Kirkwood coming in a few inches over forecast. For the most part the storm performed as expected.
We have a break today but it is cold with highs in the teens on the upper mountains and 20's at the lake. This morning the valleys dropped below zero. I don't have the official readings until tomorrow. I know SF was possibly going to come close to their all-time record low of 38 as well last night.
The next wave dropping into the trough for tomorrow night into Thursday is looking slightly wetter on the latest model runs. The European model has consistently been wetter than the other models again with this storm. The other models are coming towards it again. The European model as well as a few other models like the NAM have up to half an inch of total liquid with this storm in spots around the lake.
The GFS and a few other models like the Canadian max out around 3 - 3.5 tenths of an inch of liquid.
So I think we have a good forecast range for the storm using the GFS/Euro average. Storms like this dropping down from the North across the Sierra tend to bring equal amounts to both sides of the lake. There is still very cold air in place ahead of and with this storm, so snow ratios of up to 20:1 expected again. That means we squeeze out more snowfall than we normally would with a storm this dry. Here is the updated snowfall forecast by Friday morning. It is now similar to the last storm.
We are not expecting winds to be as strong with this storm.
It stays cold behind the storm for Friday and then we warm up slightly going into the weekend with highs into the 30's at lake level and upper 20's on the mountains. We have a weak system moving through Saturday that could brings some snow showers and a dusting of snow. Then we should have a break with some clearing for Sunday. Winds could be gusty Saturday.
Next week the ridge in the East Pacific and trough over the West look like they could back up slightly to the West.
That should allow the next two systems dropping into the trough next week to pick up more moisture off the ocean. The latest model runs don't show much of a moisture feed for the Monday-Tuesday or Wednesday-Thursday storms next week, but they do show them being slightly wetter with up to a foot of snow possible with each. We will have to watch closely as we get closer to see how much moisture they could pull in.
Here is the GFS and European total precip forecasts by next Tuesday. You can see they show a wetter system for Monday-Tuesday, but not that wet. It is still cold with low snow levels.
Hopefully this storm or the one after next week can tap a moisture feed off the Pacific and bring us at least one big dump of snow.
I was reading some other weather forecasts yesterday. I noticed someone mentioned my comment yesterday about the ridge possibly backing up too far in the Pacific the 2nd week of March and having a ridge build over the Southwest keeping the storms to our North. Their comment was that was just my feelings but the models don't show it. Just so you guys know, I don't forecast on feelings, I forecast based on things I notice in the models and my experience of what I've seen happen in the past.
So to double down on my fears I mentioned yesterday. Here is the GFS ensemble mean forecast today for the 2nd week of March to verify my fears.
The good news is that the more reliable European ensemble mean runs keep the ridge further East in the Pacific and the trough closer to the coast. But it's trending the same way.
The pattern is setup perfectly later next week into the weekend of the 3rd for some bigger storms as the pattern shifts West. But we don't want it to keep shifting west going into the week of the 5th. As we go into the March there is usually less of a blocky pattern and the pattern continues to move and progress, Let's hope we don't see another West coast ridge, but if we do it is short lived and we continue to see storms through March.
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