Scattered snow showers today with peaks of sun and highs in the 20's. We could see another 1-3 inches on the mountains. Then sunny with highs in the 30's for Sunday and warming into the 40's at lake level Monday. Tuesday the clouds increase as the next storm starts to move in. We could see rain and snow start to fall Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Snow levels sitting around 7500' through Wednesday. Wednesday night into Thursday colder air moves in dropping snow levels below lake level by Thursday with the snowfall continuing. The snow could last into Friday before ending. We could see another 1-3 feet from this storm. Next weekend we may clear out or have a couple more weak systems dive in with lighter snows. Going into the week of the 26th we should be into a drier pattern.
Next season's snow is already calling your name...
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Short Term Forecast
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Talk about luck!
The last piece of this storm way overproduced in the past 24 hours. The steady snow from the stream of moisture under the low held on longer than expected. Watching the intermittent snow bands overnight they continued to hit NW of the lake with more heavy snow. You saw the precipitation forecasts yesterday with 1.5 inches of liquid. You don't get 42 inches of snow from 1.5 inches of liquid. We were on track with the forecast all week and then the past 24 hours just blew up with double the forecast. I was definitely not expecting this storm to beat the last one, but it has...
Most of the ski resorts only picked up slightly more than the 10-20 inches that were forecast. But NW of the lake really got hit hard with 39-42 inches from Squaw down to Homewood. Here is a look at the village at Squaw this morning with the 3+ feet that fell since yesterday.
I guess that one run of the GFS that had 100" Southwest of the lake wasn't that crazy after all, except that those amounts hit NW of the lake. So 5-8 feet out of this storm and now several ski resorts are into my official Miracle March range, which is over 150 inches for the month. I will go into more detail tomorrow comparing this March to previous years.
What's more impressive is that we still have another storm on the way this week that could push some of these ski resorts over 200 inches for the month. Going into the 3rd week of February we were on track for the lowest snowfall season on record. As of this morning there are 4 ski resorts on the North side of the lake that have hit 75% of the seasonal averages, and we are about 75% of the way through the ski season. That is an incredible comeback, and I'll have the stats tomorrow.
We have snow showers around today and under the heavier bands that move through a quick inch could accumulate at a time. Only expecting a final 1-3 inches by this evening. So we still have to add that in for the totals tomorrow morning before we have the final tally. It's cold today into tomorrow with highs in the 20's today and 30's tomorrow.
Monday into Tuesday we warm up slightly with highs into the 40's at lake level. An area of low pressure will be sitting off the CA coast starting to direct a stream of moisture into CA by Tuesday night. Meanwhile, a cold trough is pushing down from the Gulf of Alaska. You can see the two areas of low pressure on this image.
The European model is wetter Tuesday night into Wednesday as it directs the stream of moisture into Central CA. The GFS is drier for Tahoe as it sends the heaviest precip into Southern CA. This is the warm part of the storm with snow levels hovering around 7500' through Wednesday.
Then the area of low pressure off the coast moves inland Wednesday night as the trough to the North is pushing in into Thursday. They may combine for a period of heavier snowfall Wednesday night into Thursday as snow levels drop below lake level by Thursday morning. The GFS cuts off the precipitation by Thursday night but the European model keeps the snow showers going into Friday.
Here is a look at the total precipitation forecast on the European ensemble mean runs showing up to 4 inches of liquid along the crest from this storm.
The Canadian model and the European operation runs also show up to 4 inches of liquid. The WPC's blended model shows up to 3.5 inches. The drier GFS shows only 2.3 inches of total liquid, but it's ensemble members average 2.8. So the GFS is the outlier right now on the drier runs. Using the GFS/Euro average, and accounting for snow levels and snow ratios through the storm, here is the initial forecast for this next storm.
It's crazy how busy we have been with forecasting the last few weeks after being bored most of the season. The hits keep coming for now...
Next weekend the GFS model runs keep the trough over the area with some weaker systems diving in with lighter snows. The European model is quicker to build in high pressure bringing an end to the precipitation.
Going into the week of the 26th the European model has been consistent with a ridge building over the West Coast bringing a week or more of dry weather.
The GFS has had many scenarios over the last several days. First it had the trough staying over the West Coast, then it went to the ridge like the Euro, and today it has the ridge up in the Gulf of Alaska with a trough over the West.
That would be more of a cooler pattern with storms dropping into the West and brushing us, like we saw back in February. I would lean towards the more consistent European model for now and expect dry weather to return that week and maybe beyond.
It is much harder to get a big storm in April, but we can still see snow storms through the month. Right now though it looks like a dry start to the month. Plenty of snow though after March!
P.S. The South Lake Polar Plunge supporting the special Olympics was postponed until tomorrow. If you can, please make a donation today to help hit the goal to send 50 athletes!
Thank you! - BA
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