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The Tahoe Daily Snow

Snow & Powder Forecasts for Tahoe
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February 20, 2013 8:15am PST

The resorts along the crest are reporting storm totals of 6-12 inches, and resorts East of the crest 3-6 inches.  So basically the areas along the crest picked up the forecast for the mountains East of the crest, and the mountains East of the crest picked up the East Shore lake level forecast.  The winner was Sugar Bowl with a foot.  I had readers telling me the snow was shin deep there yesterday so I was interested to see the report this morning.

As explained in the update last night the low tracked straight down the coast fooling every forecast model and forecaster.  If you are keeping score at home the NAM would have been the closest.  The NAM is usually biased dry though with most storms.  The Euro blew it with consistent forecast of .5-.75 inches of liquid at 20:1 ratios for the West side of the Basin.  That would have been at least 10-15 inches on the mountains.  I was watching the satellite yesterday and the trajectory the low was on would have brought it into the central valley, but once it hit the NW corner of the state it shifted and slid South.

If you are given crap by the forecast models your forecast will be crap.  I know some of you are hard on me but trust me I'm harder on myself.  If I miss a forecast it not only frustrates me but I feel like I let down the readers.  A good analogy is like spending a week or two working hard on a sculpture and then when you're done someone walks by and bumps it and it smashes on the floor.  I did read the Winter Weather Advisory from the NWS yesterday morning and they were calling for 4-8 inches East side, 8-12 West, with up to 14 inches above 7000 ft., so that was pretty much right in line with what I was seeing too.  Oh well, such is the life of a weatherman....

What we need is a strong jet stream to point straight at us from off the Pacific.  Enough of these low pressures spiraling down the coast and having to rely on their track to get snow.  It is the same on the East Coast with the low pressures spiraling up the coast.  Last weekend I was watching one bomb out off the coast of NJ.  It basically grazed the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.  My family over there picked up a dusting of snow.  If the low had tracked just 10 miles further West they would have picked up a foot of snow.

We will be stuck in this pattern through next Tuesday with cold lows dropping into the Pacific NW from the Gulf of Alaska.  The first one tomorrow will only bring us clouds.  The following two for Saturday and again Tuesday will bring us the chance of a dusting to a few inches.  The ridge off the coast will be too close for them to dig down the coast and bring us any significant snow.  The lows will drop down inside to our North and East.  The Cascades will once again hog all the snow picking up 3-4 feet this week.

Looking at the long-range forecast models there is a big discrepancy.  The GFS puts a large low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and aims a strong jet stream into the Pacific NW by the end of next week, with the ridge building over the West.  It tries to push the jet South into our area the first weekend in March, and then again around the 6th.  The Euro builds the ridge over the West the end of next week, but also builds one over Alaska with the low pressure to its South forming a Rex Block.  That blocks all storms away from the West Coast from Canada down to CA.  It too tries to break the jet stream through into CA around the 6th. 

The teleconnection forecasts are not favorable for storms the next two weeks.  We will have to see if the we can get something going around the 6th.  The CFS v2 climate model does have us at above average precip that week, but it has not been performing well this Winter.  As I said yesterday March will be a critical month for snowfall as we need an above average month to have a chance at finishing with a normal season.  BA

Tahoe Truckee Radio

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