Tahoe Daily Snow

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Roaring into March...

Summary

- Clouds and scattered snow showers possible for Friday. Highs in the 30's. Ridgetop winds still gusting to 70+ mph affecting some upper mountain lifts. - The next storm pushes into CA Friday night with heavy snow into Saturday morning, and then snow showers lingering into Sunday. This storm could see snow levels start around 5,500 feet and rise to around 6,500 feet by Saturday evening into Sunday. We could see 6-18 inches of snow on the mountains over the weekend, and 1-6 inches of wet snow possible at lake level before changing to rain. - We should see a break on Monday, then the next storm moves in next Tuesday and could last into Thursday. This storm could bring 1-2+ feet of snow to the mountains. Snow levels hovering between 6,000-6,500 feet through Wednesday before falling Wednesday night. - The active pattern could continue into the 2nd week of March.

Short Term Forecast

Storm Recap:

The past 24 hours we saw scattered snow showers with 1-4 inches of snow being reported by the ski resorts as forecast.  The one exception is NW of the lake near Donner Summit where we saw heavier snow showers than we were expecting overnight.  Sugar Bowl is reporting 8 inches of fresh snow in the past 24 hours. 

The winds are stronger than expected this morning.  The strong jet stream overhead has been slower to push south.  We have mountain top winds still gusting to 70+ mph this morning. 

jet1

The jet stream is still expected to push into Southern CA today so the winds should come down some today, maybe dropping wind gusts to 50+ by this afternoon.  I was hoping we could get them down enough today to get the upper mountain lifts open that have been closed by wind all week.

shift south

Here is a look at the 4-day storm totals from the last storm before we get into the approaching storm.  Averaged together the ski resorts are at 165% of average snowfall for the date on the upper mountains.

reports

Here is the keep me honest forecast to actual for the storm from the final forecast for the storm I put out Monday morning.  You can see that the ski resorts in green on the north side of the lake came in close to forecast with some a few inches over or under the forecast.  The south side of lake, as we talked about all week, was just south of the AR that stayed pointed at the north side of the lake.  That is why they came in well under the forecast for the storm.

variance

Incoming Storm:

Not much of a break as the next storm approaches.  The radar this morning shows the snow showers that have been hitting NW of the lake.

radar

We will continue to see some clouds and maybe some peeks of sun today, with scattered snow showers possible through the day and into the evening.  Highs in the 30's.  Gusty winds through the day with ridgetop wind gusts staying at 50+ mph through the day.

The next storm moves in later tonight.  It is pulling in some subtropical moisture, but most of that will be pointed to our south.

satellite

As the low-pressure center off the coast rotates inland Saturday we should see the heaviest snow during the day Saturday.  The winds aren't as strong with this storm as the last storm, but we should see ridgetop gusts to 50+ mph possibly continuing to affect the upper mountain lift operations on wind prone mountains.  The snow levels start around 5,500 feet tonight and then could rise to around 6,500 feet by Saturday evening.

storm pushes in

The heavier snow falling on Saturday should keep the snow levels to lake level until the snow becomes lighter later in the day and snow levels rise above lake level with some rain showers possible at lake level Saturday night into Sunday.  On the mountains, snow showers should continue Saturday night into Sunday, and maybe scattered showers into Sunday night.

The snow levels look to sit around 6,500 feet through Sunday before falling to around 5,000 feet Sunday night.  That means snow ratios of 9-11:1 on the mountains over the week, similar to this last storm.  That is drier snow above 8,000 feet, and wet snow below 8,000 feet. 

Total precipitation amounts on the latest model runs ranging from 1.3 to 2 inches along the crest, with an average of 1.8 inches.  That is down a little from yesterday.  Here is the GFS total precipitation forecast through Sunday night.

total precip

We could see 1-4 inches of snow on the mountains tonight by 4 a.m. Saturday.  Then an additional 3-8 inches during the day Saturday.  Lighter amounts of 1-3 inches possible Saturday night, and 1-2 inches for Sunday and Sunday night.  Here is the updated and final snowfall forecast for the weekend storm through Sunday night.

final forecast

At lake level, we could see the 1-6 inches of wet snow Saturday before the change to rain showers through Sunday.  The winds on Sunday should come down a bit more with ridgetop gusts of only 45+ mph.  Still breezy but hoping the upper mountains can get fully open.

Midweek Storm:

We should see a full break Monday with some sun and highs in the 30's.  We should stay dry into Tuesday morning.

The next storm is taking a similar track towards CA and is pulling in subtropical moisture again.  Like with the weekend storm, this storm is going to point most of that at Southern CA.

pwat

We will still see heavy snow push in as the storm moves into Northern CA Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.  Snow levels may be hovering between 6,000-6,500 feet through Wednesday.  That could mean the back and forth snow to rain at lake level during heavier and lighter precip intensities.  

A cold front moving through Wednesday night into Thursday should keep the snow going with snow showers possible into Thursday night.  That could drop snow levels below 5,000 feet as well.  We could see some drier and more powdery snowfall at the end of this storm before it ends Thursday night.

There is a big range on the forecast models from 1.3 to 3.2 inches of total precip along the crest. The average of the GFS and European models is 2.5 inches which I think is a good start.  Then we will fine-tune the forecast as we get closer.  Here is a look at the total precipitation forecast from the GFS model through Thursday.

gfs thursday

Here is the initial snowfall forecast for this storm.  

2nd storm snow

We may see a break in the storms next Friday.

Extended Forecast

As we go into the 2nd week of March we are expecting a pattern shift with the ridge in the northeast Pacific being replaced by a trough.  

trough

You can see the flip on the EPO (eastern Pacific oscillation) forecast from negative back to positive where it was the first 3 weeks of February.

epo

During the negative phase the past week and for the week ahead, we have been seeing warmer storms moving under the ridge and tapping subtropical moisture.  Going into the 2nd week of March we may go back to seeing colder storms dropping in from the North Pacific.  

The European model runs continue to show a cold storm possible the weekend of the 9th.  The GFS model runs continue to show this storm cutting off from the jet stream and stalling off the coast, then moving into CA the week of the 11th.  Overall, the storm door looks to stay open through the 2nd week of March, we may just have to deal with timing issues of storms.

Stay tuned...BA

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