Moisture moving up from the south has brought us increased chances for showers and thunderstorms yesterday and today (Thursday). Last night a fairly strong cell moved up the eastern side of the Sierra making for a pretty cool light show!
So far today most of the thunderstorm activity is happening outside of the Tahoe area, but we could see scattered showers and thunderstorms into the evening. You can see that our OpenSummit app is showing a moderate probably with yellow for lightning today.
Temperatures are slightly cooler today with highs in the 70's. That is expected to continue into Saturday as high pressure sits over the area.
A cool trough pushes in from the northwest starting on Saturday into Sunday.
Behind the cold front on Sunday into next week, we should see below-average temperatures with highs only in the 60's at the lake, and 50's in the upper elevations. Overnight temperatures could dip into the 30's in the lower Sierra valleys. That will help to bring a taste of fall weather in the mornings.
If you are boating or hiking this weekend, expect some stronger afternoon wind gusts up to 35+ mph as the trough pushes in. The OpenSummit app is showing yellow/red for winds in the upper elevations around Tahoe.
You can get the hourly details for all of this weather information on the OpenSummit website and app.
Most of the precipitation expected over the next week should fall with the showers today (Thursday). We are expecting drier weather along with the cooler air Friday into next week.
Last week we talked about how the number fires were still very low, but that fire season could be ramping up as the hot dry weather continues. The rain that has been falling in the Sierra the last 2 days will help to lower the fire danger, but the rest of CA is ramping up a little with 8 active incidents this week.
We are expecting cooler weather but drier weather with stronger winds into next week. We could also see some dry lightning over the weekend with the cold front moving through.
The Upcoming Winter Season:
We have seen a few winter forecasts come out over the last 2 weeks. They are similar, especially for CA. That was the case last year as well, but they all ended up being wrong, haha.
Below are the forecasts from NOAA, Weatherbell, and The Old Farmer's Almanac. All are showing below-average precipitation for CA.
The Old Farmer's Almanac
More forecasts will come out over the next 2 months, and we will look at more variables that could affect the Sierra winter season as we get closer.
A lot of what goes into the forecast this far out has to do with the sea surface temperatures. We will look at this in more detail in later posts. Looking at the SST's briefly today you can see a lot of warmth in the northeastern Pacific and cool water along the equator.
This looks eerily similar to the same time in 2013 & 2014.
If you remember, those were 2 of the lowest snow years on record. They rank the 3rd & the least snowy seasons of the last 50 years. The current and forecast SST patterns are part of what was used to make the above winter forecasts, and part of the reason for the dry CA forecast.
The good news is that things can change by winter, and some years we get the opposite of what we expected like last winter. Mostly due to shorter range patterns that set up during the winter and can only be predicted a week or two out. So if someone does get the forecast for winter exactly right, it is usually because of the pattern behaved the same as it has historically under similar conditions, or they got lucky.
We will continue to look at this in more depth as we get closer to winter. I will likely stay with once a week forecasts until we start to get some storms in the forecasts. But you can always get all your forecast needs on the mountain pages and the OpenSnow & OpenSummit apps, which are both under one subscription now!
P.S. One more cool pic from last night!
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