- Tuesday we should have sun and light winds. Highs only in the '20s, and lows in the teens and single digits. Ridgetop winds gusting from the northeast at 25-35+ mph. - The next cold system drops down from the north Wednesday into Thursday. This one looks much drier coming down over land, with only light snow showers expected. We could see 3-6 inches of powdery snow over the 2 days. Highs still in the 20's. - Friday should be cold and dry with some sun. Highs in the 20's on the mountains to low 30's at lake level. - The next cold systems drop down from the north Saturday & Sunday. They should brush us with some light snow through the weekend. We could see several inches pile up. - The week of the 25th we could see a drier and milder pattern as high pressure builds over the West Coast. Then the storms may return starting around March 3rd.
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Short Term Forecast
It's a beautiful cold morning here in the Tahoe basin. Temperatures are starting out in the single digits from lake level up to the higher elevations. Ridgetop winds are gusting from the northeast up to 40 mph. It's going to be another beautiful day of skiing.
(sunrise over Squaw this morning)
A lot of people saying the last few days have been some the best skiing they have ever had in Tahoe, or in a very long time. It is deep and the snow is light. There are still some hidden stashes out there today. The winds are a little gusty up high with gusts to 40+ mph from the northeast this morning. Expecting winds to gust to 35+ mph through Wednesday.
Here are some stats put out by the NWS Reno last night. Of note is that the lower elevations are doing better with the snowpack than 2017 with the colder storms this year. We talked about that yesterday as well with the total snowfall outpacing the total precipitation as a % of average for the date.
Wednesday - Thursday Storm:
We are still in the pattern of a cold trough over the West Coast with another system dropping down from the north on Wednesday. The difference this time is that this system drops down over land instead of along the coast, so it has much less moisture to work with. We should see light snow showers break out early Wednesday morning, with scattered snow showers continuing into Thursday.
As the system slides down to our East we will see the winds switch from west back to northeast Thursday. We will have to watch for lake effect snow bands to set up again off of Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe again. The last storm we saw this at the end with some upslope flow enhancement on the east slope of the Sierra. That dumped quite a bit of bonus snow on Heavenly and over the foothills of Reno/Carson.
There is no change to the forecast this morning. Still expecting only up to 2-3 tenths of total precipitation with this system by Thursday afternoon.
We could see 1-2 inches of blower pow Wednesday, another 1-2 inches Wednesday night, and another inch Thursday. This is 15-20:1 ratio or better snow. Very powdery. Snow levels dropping to "0" feet Wednesday night. Here is the storm total forecast by Thursday evening.
The winds aren't expected to be that strong, only continuing to gust up to 40+ mph on the ridgetops through Thursday.
Friday we should see the sun again with cold air and highs in the 20's on the mountains.
Two more weak systems should drop down from the north Saturday and Sunday. These systems may drop down even further to our east with only very light scattered snow showers for the weekend.
Some model runs show only 1-3 inches all weekend. Some other runs have the systems dropping down a bit further west with several inches each. Here is the WPC model for total precip Wed-Sun.
These are cold systems with more light powdery snow for the mountains. I will try to get a better idea on the tracks by tomorrow and put out the initial weekend snowfall forecast. You can also see them now on the resort pages.
Next week we are expecting a pattern change. The trough is expected to push east with high-pressure building over the West Coast, and a strong ridge building over Alaska.
High pressure over CA looks pretty weak compared to further north. That does leave open the possibility of a system possibly pushing under the ridge into CA for the middle of next week. We are seeing that on several model runs, but most runs keep the precip to our north. We will keep an eye on that all week.
Starting the weekend of the 2nd we could see a better chance of storms breaking under the ridge into CA into the week of the 4th.
The jet stream has been splitting out near the dateline since the beginning of the month, with the northern branch of the jet stream dropping down the West Coast on the east side of the ridge in the northeast Pacific. That has been bringing all of the cold storms from the north. The jet stream looks like it could strengthen and push closer to CA by the weekend of the 2nd.
That could continue into the week of the 4th bringing a better chance of pushing storms into CA that week. So we will continue to watch for a stormier pattern starting as early as the 2nd through the week of the 4th. The long-range ensemble mean runs still show a wet pattern setting up the first week of March.
So in summary, cold and weaker storms possible this week, maybe a break next week and slightly milder if a storm doesn't break into CA midweek, then a stormier pattern possibly starting the first week of March.
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