Scattered rain & snow showers continue into Monday evening before clearing out Monday night, with snow levels rising above 7000 ft. before falling Monday evening. A break Tue-Wed with sunny skies and gusty winds for Tuesday. The next storm could move in by Thu evening and last into Saturday. A drier pattern may set up for several days starting Sunday into early next week.
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Short Term Forecast
We have gusty winds this morning (Monday) with ridgetop winds gusting up to 90+ mph. Snow levels look to be sitting around 6500-7500 ft. Looking out our radar this morning, we have showers falling mainly west of the lake, along the crest, and over the foothills.
Snow is falling on the mountains above 7000 ft. Here is a look at Sugar Bowl this morning with big wet flakes falling.
So far the ski resorts west of the lake and along the crest picked up 1-2 inches Sunday night into early Monday morning, with just rain up to 1 inch at the bases and the same for the east side of the lake.
It has been snowing off and on for 4.5 days now with the 4-day totals of 1-2+ feet on the mountains. We will have one more day of snow today into this evening to add to the 5-day totals Tuesday morning.
Showers will continue today into this evening. Our Forecast Radar shows the steadier showers this morning becoming more scattered this afternoon and evening before ending later in the evening.
No change to the forecast as we have the gusty winds we expected and rising snow levels. Snow levels could top out around 7000-8000 ft. today before falling this afternoon down to 6000-6500 ft. by evening, and then below 6000 ft. later in the evening. So you could see a few snowflakes to lake level this evening if any last-minute showers move through.
Total precipitation amounts haven't changed much. Most of the precipitation was expected to fall during the day today and then tapering off this afternoon into the evening. The latest model runs show up to half an inch of additional precip along the crest through this evening.
We will see wet snow on the mountains between 7000 - 8000 ft. above the snow line. Snow ratios of 10:1 or less. Enough for 1-5 additional inches of snow on the mountains above 7000-7500 ft.
That is the same as the final forecast from yesterday that had 1-7 inches for this storm, and so far we've seen 0-2 inches on the mountains. Ridgetop winds will come down some through the afternoon, but could still be gusting from the southwest 60-70+ mph. Highs in the 30s to near 40 degrees at lake level.
Tuesday - Wednesday:
Slightly colder Tuesday into Wednesday, but with mostly sunny skies expected. Highs in the 30s. Ridgetop winds could be gusting from the northwest 40-50+ mph Tuesday and then turning northerly and becoming lighter on Wednesday.
Thursday - Saturday Storms:
The Saturday system is tracking farther south again into the northern Sierra on most of the latest model runs this morning. We have 2 back to back systems with little to no break between them from Thursday evening through Saturday if the current trends continue. That is also a wetter/snowier forecast than we were looking at yesterday.
The first system pushes precipitation into the northern Sierra by Thursday evening. This was originally a pretty good fetch of moisture from across the Pacific, but it is being cut-off and weakening as it pushes in. Here is a look at it on the new GFS v16.
Snow levels may be hovering in the 5500-6500 ft. range to start Thursday night, right around lake level, and that could continue into Friday as this first part of the storm is a little warmer. Then as the trough digs south a 2nd wave moves through into northern CA Friday night into Saturday.
That will bring colder air and another shot of steady precipitation. Snow levels could fall below 4000 ft. Friday night and be in the 3500-4500 ft. range Saturday. Then the storm could clear out by Saturday evening. Winds will likely be gusty both days with highs in the 30s.
Total precipitation amounts are all over the place still this morning with some models still keeping the 2nd piece of the storm farther north, and weakening the first piece as it moves into the northern Sierra. The ensemble run averages though have been increasing precip amounts. The European model along with the GFS & the new GFS v16 all have up to 1.5 inches of total precip along the crest, the total model average is just over 1 inch this morning.
Amounts fall off to the south of the Tahoe Basin down to Mammoth just like with Monday's storm. With snow levels falling snow ratios increase from around 10:1 on the mountains Friday to 14-16:1 on the mountains Satuday, so we could finish with some drier powder on top. We need the models to continue trending farther south and wetter over the next few days to gain more confidence, but here is the updated 2-day snowfall forecast.
We should clear out for Sunday with mostly sunny skies and warming temperatures. Highs in the 30s on teh upper mountains and 40s at lake level. High pressure builds near the West Coast into early next week. That should keep us dry and could warm highs into the 50s at lake level.
The long-range models continue to show the ridge near the coast shifting northwest the last few days of the month into the first few days of March.
The PNA (Pacific North American) teleconnection forecasts show a gradual decline into the negative phase (West Coast trough pattern) through the end of the month.
We will have to see how far west the trough will dig off the West Coast. We could see weak/moderate systems drop down the coast, or maybe a wetter system dig off the coast and move into CA by the end of the month. We will be watching closely as the pattern opens up and possibly allows for a more active pattern into early March...
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