Rain and high elevation snow today into tonight with snow levels around 8,000 feet. Ridge top winds to 60 mph today increasing tonight. Highs in the 30's. We could see 7-16 inches above the snow line by Thursday morning. Thursday into Thursday evening snow levels drop to 7,000 feet and eventually lake level by evening. Highs in the 30's. Ridge top winds increase to 90 mph. We could see an additional 8-19 inches of snow on the mountains, and 1-2 inches at lake level. We could see a break Friday and then light snow showers Friday night into Saturday. Saturday night we could see some heavier snowfall tapering off Sunday morning. Highs in the 20's on the mountains and 30's at lake level Friday through Sunday. Ridge top winds to 60 mph on Friday decreasing a little Saturday and even lighter for Sunday. Next week we are expecting high pressure to build in with sunny and warming weather. Highs should warm into the 40's and maybe 50's at lake level by the end of the week. There could be another storm the week of the 2nd.
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Short Term Forecast
The storm is performing as expected so far. I had a forecast of 0-3 inches above 8k and we have reports this morning from the mountains of 0-5 inches so far.
The resorts reporting "0" measure below 8k as that is where snow levels have been hovering since last night. The higher up in elevation they measure the higher the snowfall amounts being reported this morning. That's the way this storm will go through tonight. Snow will accumulate above 8000 feet, and deeper the higher you go up.
The base of Mt. Rose is the highest in the basin at just over 8200'. You can see on the base cam this morning it is snowing pretty hard and accumulating.
Not much change to the forecast this morning, but there are some changes in the details each day so I'll go through each day.
These high elevation snowfall days are a real pain. I can try to forecast the snow levels and snowfall above the snow line pretty easily. But where the snow line sets up versus where the ski resorts measure can really mess with the forecast. It's hard to group all of the ski resorts into 4 categories like I do in my forecast charts used in the blog discussions. In 8,000 foot snow level days like today the ski resorts measuring higher up like Mt. Rose could be pushed up into the 9,000 ft. range, and ski resorts measuring below 8k could be pushed down into the 7000 ft. range. If you go the individual resort pages I have each mountains forecast adjusted based on their elevation and measuring elevation.
It looks like the snow levels have decided to setup around 8,000 feet for today into tonight. They could jump a bit higher today under lighter precip. We have more scattered bands of precip today with only light amounts of snowfall expected above the snow line. Maybe 1-3 inches. Winds are gusting to 60 mph up high.
Tonight the heavy precip pushes in but snow levels look to stay around 8000'. They could maybe lower to 7500' under the heaviest bands. Above 8k we could see an additional 6-13 inches of snowfall. So Thursday morning reports for the mountains that measure above 8k could be 7-16 inches. Those that measure below 8k could be dramatically less based on where the snow line sets up tonight.
Thursday the heavy precip continues with some colder air trying to push in. The latest model runs are very slow to push in the colder air until the precip moves out Thursday evening dropping snow levels well below lake level. Snow levels on the latest model runs drop to around 7,000 feet Thursday morning. Winds crank up with 90 mph gusts up high.
Thursday night the latest model trends have the precip shutting off pretty fast. The European model shuts off the storm quickly by 5 p.m. The GFS lingers snow showers through the evening. This will be higher snow ratio snow of a few inches on top of the thick snow that fell during the day. By Friday morning we could have 1-2 inches at lake level, 8-16 inches of snow above 7k, and an additional 10-19 inches above 8k.
Here is a look at the update total snowfall forecast by elevation by Friday morning.
The forecast models are still in good agreement that we have a break during the day Friday. We could see the sun peak out. Winds could still be strong gusting to 60 mph up high. The temperatures will be colder in the 20's on the mountains and 30's at lake level.
Friday night another weak front moves through bringing light powdery snowfall. We could see an additional 1-3 inches for all elevations by Saturday morning.
Another minor change on the model runs this morning is that they have light snow showers during the day now on Saturday behind the front and ahead of the low moving in Saturday night. We could see another 1-4 inches of snow during the day. The highs stay cold in the 20's on the mountains and 30's at lake level. Winds could still be gusting to 50 mph up high ahead of the next wave.
Saturday night the latest model runs still show the low moving in off the Pacific and down the Sierra. The total precip amounts aren't that impressive, but it's cold with high snow ratios which could fluff the snow. By Sunday morning we could have 24 hour totals of 6-19 inches of snow, highest amounts west of the lake along the crest.
Overall the GFS has up to 6 additional inches of liquid along the crest by Sunday morning when the storm finally clears out. The European model up to 4.6 inches. The difference is the GFS is wetter Thursday afternoon and evening as it keeps the snowfall going while the Euro shuts it off by Thursday evening. The GFS is also slightly wetter with the front Friday night into Saturday but not much. The average of all the model runs and ensembles is around 4.5 inches of additional liquid along the crest.
Here is the WPC model for total additional precip by Sunday showing up to 5 inches along the crest which I think is a good average. This model pulls in lots of different forecast model runs.
Here is the updated snowfall forecast through by Sunday morning. Most of the snow at 6k doesn't fall until the weekend.
We have up to 5 inches so far as of this morning along the crest. So we will have to see if the ski resorts measuring above 8k can get to 3-5 feet by Sunday. Quick drop off to 1-3 feet above 7k, and 5-19 at 6k thanks to the high snow levels.
I will be out reporting live again today on the TahoeWeather Facebook and Instagram pages, and posting storm updates on Twitter. I hope you guys are enjoying the live storm reports this year.
High pressure builds in Monday through next week with sun and warming temps. We should warm into the 40's at most elevations by Tuesday, and then maybe into the 50's at lake level the 2nd half of next week.
The European ensemble runs have trended towards the GFS in showing a trough possibly moving in along the West Coast the week of the 2nd.
Some of the operational have been showing a storm that week dropping in from the Gulf of Alaska. We will keep an eye on it to see if we could see some April snow.
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