Tahoe Daily Snow

Snow Showers...


- The next storm moves in Tuesday bringing some very light snow showers into Wednesday. Only expecting 2-5 inches of snow to pile up in total over the 2 days on the mountains. - It looks dry for the upcoming weekend with highs in the 40's at lake level and 30's on the mountains. - The next storm tries to push in on Monday the 10th but may split bringing little to no snow.

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Short Term Forecast

Tuesday-Wednesday Storm:

Early Tuesday morning snow showers started breaking out over Western Nevada and the Reno area.  


You can see that the low off the coast isn't pushing much precipitation onto the coast.  We are just seeing some light snow showers break out as the warmer air moving in aloft lifts over the cold air in place down at the surface.  The snow showers should fill in around the lake this morning.  It still looks like no more than an inch for the mountains today.

Tuesday night we are expecting some moisture to move up from the south wrapping up the east side of the low spinning off the CA coast.  It looks like the best chance for accumulating snow is tonight into Wednesday morning when we could see a few inches of snow.

The latest model runs have the low off the coast moving south away from us ending snow showers chances by Wednesday night.  A little faster than it looked a couple days ago.  The average of the models paints 4 tenths of an inch of total liquid over the area, very similar to what the NAM model is showing.


The GFS model tries to squeeze out up to 7 tenths over the higher peaks but is the outlier.  Overall not much change to the expectations for the storm other than it ending earlier.  Below is the total snowfall forecast by Wednesday night, which is still the same as it was yesterday.  

total snowfall

Drier Weather:

Thursday through Sunday high pressure builds in over CA.  That will bring us a drier pattern and slightly warmer temperatures.  We could see highs break into the 40's at lake level over the weekend, and 30's on the upper mountains.

Next Storm Chance:

We have been watching a storm for next Monday as the next trough pushes into the West Coast.


The GFS model is now splitting the storm as it moves into CA similar to what the other models have been showing.  We will have to keep a close eye on this storm to see how much it splits or holds together as that will affect the snowfall amounts.  Right now I have the forecast as a few inches on the mountains as the storm looks to weaken and split as it moves in.

Extended Forecast

The long-range forecast continues to look tricky.  It looks like high pressure will be trying to build off the coast pushing the storm track just to our north into the Pacific NW by the middle of next week.  The GFS ensemble mean run shows a trough dipping back into CA by mid-month.

gfs ens mean

But the European and Canadian ensemble runs keep the trough further north keeping the storm track to our north.  It's tricky because we could be right on the edge of the storm track with it not taking much for a storm or two to drop into Northern CA.  But if they don't then we could go into a dry period through mid-month.

Going into the 3rd week of December there is even more disagreement as European and Canadian models pull the trough in the northeast Pacific back further and build the ridge over the Western U.S.

Canadian ens

While the GFS pushes another trough into the West Coast...

gfs trough

Looking at the sea surface temps and teleconnection forecasts I can see arguments for both patterns.  So we will have to keep watching all of it closely to see if we can get a better idea of where the pattern will go beyond the Monday storm.

As we go into the heart of the Winter season later in December, the pattern we were expecting for this season may kick in.  With the weak El Nino signal and the warmest water away from the coast of South America, and the warmer water in the Gulf of Alaska, we are anticipating that the positive PNA pattern could rule much of the Winter.  That pattern has a ridge along the West Coast from Canada to the Pacific NW and trough north of Hawaii.  Maybe the Canadian and European ensemble long-range patterns are showing the start of that pattern beginning to set up.

November Recap:

I got the official numbers in from the Central Sierra Snow Lab for November.  We started the month mild and very dry up until the day before Thanksgiving.  That helped us to come in at 1.4 degrees above average for the month in Truckee.  The rain and snow finally moved in the last 10 days of the month helping us to attempt to recover.

Here is a look at the total precipitation graph for November from the CSSL.  You can see that we almost fully recovered to average the last 10 days of the month, coming in just shy of average. 


Looking at the entire Northern Sierra on the 8-station index you can see we had a nice recovery but are still below average.

8 station

For snowfall, we saw 2-4 feet on the upper mountains around the lake.  The official graph from the Snow Lab at 6,883' is below.  You can see we did come in below average, but a nice comeback at the end of the month with 3 feet of snow.


The upper mountains on the north side of the lake have picked up similar amounts of snow to this time last year.  The difference is that last year it was mostly all rain on the lower half of the mountains.  Over the past 2 weeks, we have picked up a couple feet of snow on the lower mountains so there is a lot more snow this year on the lower half of the mountains.

Looking at the snowpack as of the end of the 2 week storm series December 2nd, it was up to 114% of average for the Central Sierra!


So we are sitting at a pretty good place as of today.  I heard a lot of positive comments from skiers the last few days.  But we need the storms to continue!

Stay tuned...BA

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