- The current storm will wind down through the day on Monday before tapering off by Monday evening. Snow levels should rise from around 7000 feet Monday morning up to 7500-8000 feet by Monday evening. A final 3-8 inches of additional snow is possible on the upper mountains. Winds will be coming down on Monday as well. - We could see a break Tuesday and a few scattered showers Wednesday as the low off the coast moves inland. Best chances south of the lake. Snow level could drop to around 7,000 feet. Highs in the 30s with lighter winds. - We should have a break on Thursday with some sun. Then the next storm looks like it will move in Friday into Saturday. This storm will have falling snow levels and could bring 1-2+ feet of new snow to the mountains by Saturday night. Snow levels could start just above lake level but fall with the cold front, so expecting mainly all snow for the Tahoe Basin. - We may see a break after that to start the week of the 9th. The forecast models disagree on how long the pattern change to a drier pattern will last. They show better chances for a more active pattern after mid-month.
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Short Term Forecast
We had better news for temperatures and snow levels over the past 24 hours. Temperatures held pretty steadily and some heavier precipitation helped to drag snow levels lower at times. We saw snow to the base of many of the ski resorts that have a base above 6,500 feet.
Here is a look at the temperatures over the past 48 hours at 8k at Squaw. You can see the rise in temperatures Saturday night, and then a leveling off over the past 24 hours.
The temperatures would have suggested snow levels around 7000 feet, but some heavier precipitation helped to lower snow levels down to 6500' or even a bit lower at times. The base of Squaw at 6200' saw back and forth rain/snow and they are reporting a wet 5 inches this morning. At lake level, it was mainly all rain, especially for South Lake where it looks like snow levels were running about 500' higher than the north side of the lake. Cold air trapped on the east side of the Sierra in Nevada had snow falling down to 5,000 feet or just below that at times.
Looking at all of the reports, it looks like rain with up to a few inches of glop between lake level and 6500 feet the past 24 hours. Between 6500-7000 feet around 3-8 inches of wet snow. Between 7000-7500 feet around 7-12 inches of snow, and above 7500 feet on the upper mountains, we have reports from the ski resorts this morning of an additional 10-32 inches. I had 14-24 inches forecast for the 24 hour period, so pretty close to what we were expecting.
The higher totals are on the mountains that measure near to above 8k. The lower amounts are being reported by mountains that measure below 8k. It looks like southwest of the lake near Sierra & Kirkwood got hit hardest the past 24 hours.
The 6-day totals are impressive with 3-7 feet so far, with one more day to go. We are now at an average of 116% of average snowfall vs the YTD average for the upper mountains. Pretty impressive when still had mainly all dirt on the ground 6 days ago, and now the ski resorts are preparing to open a lot of terrain this week. Here is a shot of Sugar Bowl I took on Tuesday and again on Saturday from the same spot. That's before the additional 2-3 feet in the last 2 days.
The Storm Winds Down:
The low responsible for point the AR at us is still spinning off the coast this morning directing moisture into CA.
There is still one last push of heavier precipitation streaming into our area this morning.
That should diminish later this morning, with lighter showers expected for the afternoon. Then we should see things taper off this evening. Maybe a few scattered showers overnight. The snow levels are expected to rise today, especially with lighter precipitation. Snow levels +/- 7000 feet should rise to around 7500 feet by midday, and to around 8000 feet by this evening when the storm ends.
The latest model runs early this morning were showing a final half-inch to an inch of precipitation. The average is around 8 tenths west of the lake near crest through this evening.
That is starting at 4 a.m. this morning so much of that is already falling this morning. Very low snow ratios with a final few inches of wet snow for the upper mountains today. Here is the forecast for the final 12 hours of the storm.
We will have the final storm and 7-day storm tallies tomorrow morning, as well as the forecaster's scorecard for this storm.
Tuesday - Thursday Drier Weather:
The low spinning off the coast will move through CA Tuesday-Wednesday. That latest model runs continue to keep it to our south. Maybe an outside chance of a scattered shower Tuesday night into Wednesday, but the better chances will be south of the Tahoe Basin from Bear Valley down to Mammoth and into southern CA.
We should see mainly dry weather for the Tahoe Basin with clouds and sun through Thursday. Lighter winds expected with highs in the 30s. Overnight lows in the 20s should freeze up the wet snow that just fell making for a good base for the ski resorts. They should be able to make some snow as well if they need to.
Friday - Saturday Colder Storm:
We have another storm on the way for the end of the week. It looks like a colder storm that could bring a decent amount of snow to the Tahoe Basin. The latest model runs snow pushing in by Friday afternoon and lasting into Saturday night before ending by Sunday.
This looks more like a typical winter storm with gusty winds increasing ahead of the storm on Friday and a cold front sweeping through with a period of heavy snow Friday night. Snow levels may start just above lake level but will drop below lake level with the cold front moving through, so this looks like a mainly all snow event for the Tahoe Basin.
The wild card seems to be the track of the main low-pressure center on Saturday. Some storms we get just a cold front moving through and that's it. Other storms we can see the low-pressure move through behind the front, sometimes with a small gap of heavy snow for several hours before the 2nd round of snow moves through. Those are usually the storms where people freak out when the sun comes out before the 2nd round moves through and brings the 2nd half of the snowfall.
The latest model runs show the low moving through northern CA on Saturday, with some runs showing it moving right across the Tahoe Basin. Either way, we should see the 2nd round of precipitation that keeps the snow going into Saturday and Saturday night before tapering off by Sunday morning.
The latest model runs of both the deterministic and ensemble mean models are already in decent agreement showing 1.5 - 2 inches of total precipitation near the crest. The WPC's blended model is showing up to 3 inches this morning on top of the inch from today.
I was wondering why it was so much wetter than the other models, and then I looked at the 6z GFS model run which was out of its mind with up to 5 inches of precipitation. I just took a peek at the new 12z run and it settled back down to 3.4 inches. We still have 4 days to fine-tune this forecast, but at least we have an idea that 1-2 inches of precip is looking likely with an outside chance of up to 3 right now. We will be watching the trend of the track for the 2nd wave Saturday and how much moisture the cold front pulls in.
Based on the 100 model average the total precip average this morning is 2.3 inches near the crest. The initial snowfall forecast is based on that this morning.
The 2-3 feet of heavy wet snow the last 2 days on top of the 2-3 feet of snow from last week should allow the ski resorts to expand a lot of terrain this week, especially on the upper mountains. After some snowmaking to fill in the holes this week and then another storm for the week, we should be in really good shape for early December by this time next week.
The long-range models are still in agreement that we could see a drier pattern setup starting Sunday into the week of the 9th as high pressure builds in over CA.
The GFS ensembles have flipped today, showing a better chance that the ridge could sit near CA through the 2nd week of December.
That would keep the storm track to our north. The European and Canadian models still show a flatter ridge with storms pushing at least into northern CA starting around the 11th. We will keep an eye no the trend for the long-range, but we won't have to worry about it for another week as the storms continue this week. The MJO is forecast to re-emerge in the Indian Ocean over the next 2 weeks which is a wet signal for CA in December.
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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/#
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