- The current storm will last into Monday before tapering off by Monday evening. Snow levels continue to rise from around 7000-7500 feet Sunday into Sunday night, and up to 7500-8000 feet for Monday. 1-2+ feet of additional snow is possible on the upper mountains above 7500', with several inches of wet snow possible down to 7000 feet. Winds gusting to 60+ mph on the upper mountains Sunday, coming down on Monday. - We could see a break Tuesday and scattered showers Wednesday as the low off the coast moves inland. Snow level could drop to around 7,000 feet. Highs in the 30s with lighter winds. - We should have a break on Thursday. Then the next storm looks like it will move in Friday into Saturday. This storm will have falling snow levels and could bring a decent amount of snow to the mountains. - We may see a break after that to start the week of the 9th, but it may not last long.
WINTER HAS ARRIVED
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Short Term Forecast
The complicated forecast continues this morning. We still have 36 hours to go with this 2-day storm.
The snow began to move in Saturday evening with temperatures in the 20s. But we saw a lot of gaps in the precipitation through the evening. That allowed for stronger winds over the mountains and a lot of warmer air to mix in through the Tahoe Basin. We saw temperatures rise close to 10 degrees at the base of Squaw through the evening, from the upper 20s to the upper 30s.
Snow levels stayed down close to lake level until after midnight. Snow turned to rain in Truckee around 2 a.m. We were expecting snow levels to rise above lake level after midnight per yesterday post: "Tonight snow levels may rise to around 6,500 feet by 4 a.m. on Sunday. I have snow changing to rain at lake level after midnight." So no surprises there. The precipitation continued to be spotty overnight with bands of heavy precipitation moving through and then gaps like we are seeing still early this morning.
The rise in temperatures has leveled off through the early morning hours, with snow levels fluctuating between 6500-7500 feet. Mainly depending on the precipitation with heavy precip lowering snow levels and breaks in the precip raising snow levels. Down in Reno and Carson, the cold air has been trapped overnight with snow in Carson and a mixed bag of snow/sleet/freezing rain in Reno.
By this morning we were expecting 5-14 inches of snow on the upper mountains. Even with the spotty cells of heavier precipitation, so far this morning the ski resorts are reporting 3-16 inches on the upper mountains. Resorts reporting at elevations under 8k like Alpine & Homewood are reporting less, and over 8k like Squaw & Sugar Bowl are reporting more. Southwest of the lake had the heaviest snow so far from Sierra down to Kirkwood and Bear Valley.
The Next 36 Hours:
We were expecting snow levels to rise to around 7,000 this morning and to around 7,500 feet by this evening, with the snow levels fluctuating about 500' on either side of that around the basin. The latest model runs are a little warmer this morning showing maybe a faster rise to 7,500 feet today and maybe holding there into Sunday night, and then rising to 8,000 feet for Monday.
The storm is still spinning off the coast and directing the moisture stream into central CA.
We have been expecting the heaviest precipitation with this storm to fall Sunday into Sunday night. The precipitation should fill in this morning with the heavy precipitation expected to continue through Sunday night, and then light-moderate showers that should become lighter in the afternoon and taper off by Monday evening.
The latest model runs are still pretty wet, still showing that we have 2-3+ inches of total precipitation still to go through Monday.
That means a lot more rain still to come below 7,000 feet. For the upper mountains, we still have a tricky forecast. Heavier bands of snow moving through could pull down snow levels to around 7000 feet, with lighter precipitation raising them to around 8,000 feet Sunday through Sunday night. The forecast between 7000-8000 feet is tricky, with an easier forecast for above 8,000 feet if it stays all snow.
Here is the updated snowfall forecast for Sunday through Monday.
Notice that with these warmer storms I have added d few notes to the forecast. Like putting the lower elevation ski resorts like Boreal down into the 7k forecast, and higher mountains like Mt. Rose into the 9k forecast. Mountains like Alpine & Homewood that measure between 7-8k may or may not pick up the forecast amounts depending on the snow levels for the duration of the storm. Like I said, a tricky forecast...
The Upcoming Week:
We may see a break on Tuesday with some sun and clouds as the moisture stream cuts off as the low off the coast moves closer. Then for Wednesday the low off the coast is expected to move inland over southern California. That could brush us with some light rain/snow showers for Wednesday with snow levels possibly dropping closer to 7,000 feet. Not expecting much in the way of any accumulations.
Thursday we may see another dry day with some sun. Highs through the week look to remain in the 30s.
Friday into Saturday it still looks like we will see a decent storm move through. This one looks colder with falling snow levels. We should see snow for all elevations. We will look at the initial snowfall forecast for this storm tomorrow. Right now the forecast models show between 1-3 inches of total precipitation across the Tahoe Basin. That could mean 1-3 feet of new snow for the weekend to refresh the slopes after this wet storm.
Here a look at the total precipitation forecast on the WPCs model through Saturday.
It still looks like we could see a break going into the week of the 9th as high pressure builds in over the West Coast.
The forecast models are showing a flip in the negative PNA pattern we have been seeing to a positive PNA pattern going into the week of the 9th.
Then they are showing a flip back to a negative PNA pattern around mid-month. We have also been talking about the stronger and more consolidated jet stream being shown on the models nosing into the West Coast later during the week of the 9th. The ridge may not be a match for that with weakened storms still pushing in during the 2nd week fo December. Then maybe a stormier pattern by mid-month.
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If you are traveling through the Sierra please use the links below for travel advisories as we do not give our opinions for the "safest" or "best" travel times for liability reasons. You can also follow our I-80 Daily Snow forecast as well.
NWS Reno: https://www.weather.gov/rev/
NWS Sacramento: https://www.weather.gov/sto/
CA road conditions: http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-b... (and 1-800-427-7623)
NV road conditions: https://nvroads.com/
OSS weather share: http://oss.weathershare.org/#