Rain & snow continue Wednesday, tapering to showers later in the day. The storm clears out Wednesday night. We could see an additional 6-12 inches above 7000 ft, with mainly rain expected at lake level. Thursday through the middle of next week looks to be dry. Highs into the 40s at lake level and 30s for the upper mountains. Overnight lows in the teens will be cold enough for continued snowmaking
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Short Term Forecast
Here is a look at the stake at Sugar Bowl was showing close to a foot of fresh snow at 5 a.m.
Below are the ski area reports that have come in so far. 10-16 inches of fresh snow being reported on the upper mountains around the Tahoe Basin so far with this storm.
The rain & snow moved in during the evening hours. Snow levels started out above 7000 ft, but dropped below lake level overnight under the heavier band of precipitation. We even saw a slushy accumulation into Truckee. Here is a look at the early morning road cams on 89 near Squaw...
...and in South Lake.
So it looks like the storm is performing as expected so far. We weren't even sure if we would see any snow at all down at lake level. I will update the post with more ski resort reports once I get more in later today. Comment any measurements you have as well in the comments.
The 2nd Half of the Storm:
The storm continues through the day on Wednesday. We could see more bands of heavy rain/snow move through the region today. The radar doesn't look that impressive this morning, but the forecast models are showing additional bands of heavier precip moving through today. You can see some lighting strikes up near Redding.
Snow levels are expected to rise this morning with the lighter precipitation. They should hover in the 6500-7000 ft. range with mainly all rain for the rest of the storm at lake level. The precipitation is expected to be lighter this afternoon with showers possible into the evening before we clear out overnight. Snow levels fall behind the system Wednesday night.
The forecast models are still showing 1.0 - 1.6 inches of additional precipitation west of the lake along the Sierra crest from 4 a.m. Wednesday through 4 a.m. Thursday. The model average this morning is just over 1 inch for the rest of the storm. Snow ratios of 9-11:1 above 7000 ft. with wet snow continuing to pile up. Here is a look at the WPC's blended model precip forecast for the rest of the storm.
Looking at the Sugar Bowl stake cam as of 8 a.m. as I am posting this it looks like they are closing in on 14 inches. Another inch of precip today on the high end along the crest at 9-11:1 low ratio snow would bring an additional 6-12 inches of snow to the mountains above 7000 ft.
We will have to watch the system today to see if steadier bands of precip setup over the Tahoe Basin. If not the lower end of the forecast looks more likely, and wherever the bands of precip sit today. It's a bummer seeing rain at lake level, but this is the early season base building snow we need on the mountains. Ridgetop winds lower than yesterday, but still gusting to 70+ mph.
The strong winds yesterday wreaked havoc on the area. We saw several fires start and lots of wind damage, especially in the Reno area. One fire burned several homes in the Caughlin Ranch neighborhood. The rain overnight helped in getting the fires under control around the area.
The Next 5 Days:
High pressure builds in over CA Thursday through early next week. The gusty winds continue to subside Thursday, with lighter winds expected into the weekend. Highs into the 40s through the period at lake level and 30s on the mountains. Overnight lows down into the teens and 20s which is more than cold enough for snowmaking to continue. Northstar is planning to open for the weekend, the first in the Tahoe area!
The trend on the long-range models continues to be a shallower trough next week that doesn't dig as far south down the West Coast.
It looks like that may keep the storm track just to the north of us through most of next week. The sunny and seasonal weather may continue.
The MJO is in its active phase over the Indian Ocean and strengthening. The forecasts keep sending it into the circle of death, but each day it defies the forecasts and continues to strengthen and move very slowly towards the east.
I'm not trusting the long-range forecasts too much as some may or may not be picking up on this signal that usually helps with West Coast troughs digging farther south during the winter. The long-range models are still split on how far south the storm track will be the last week of the month into early December. The CFSv2 is still showing above-average precipitation down into northern CA.
While some models like the GFS extended range model show the storm track mainly to our north.
Looking at the ensemble member runs of the various models, there are enough showing the possibility of storm pushing south into northern/central CA the weekend of the 28th that they are showing increased precipitation for the northern Sierra and the Tahoe Basin. So we will continue to watch the trend for that weekend into the 1st week of December to see if the trend is towards a stormier pattern for northern CA.
There won't be much else to focus on after this storm is over...
If you are a loyal follower I have designed a few funny t-shirts based on our ongoing conversations each season. If you are interested they are available here in the Tahoe Weather Nerd Store.
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