Today will be the last sunny day of the week. Tomorrow clouds will be on the increase with precipitation moving in by later in the day. Snow levels will start around 7000 ft. before falling with the cold front Wednesday night. Snow is expected down to lake level overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Snow showers should taper off by Thursday night. Total snowfall through Thursday expected to be around 3-6 inches at lake level, 6-9 inches on the East side of the lake above 7000 ft, 9-12 inches on the West side, and 12-15 inches along the crest West of the lake.
The next storm moves in Friday morning with snowfall through Saturday morning. We could see similar amounts of snow as with the first system. Then a break later Saturday into Sunday. Forecast models then diverge with some showing another wave of snow later Sunday into Monday, Tuesday, and again next Thursday, while others show dry conditions building in starting Sunday and lasting through next week.
Not many changes with the first system expected to move in tomorrow afternoon. The main adjustment is prolonging the snow showers on Thursday to last through most of the day. Snow levels on the latest model runs are still around 7000 ft. at 10 p.m. Wednesday night but below 6000 ft. by 4 a.m. Thursday. Snow levels look like they will drop to lake level around midnight. The heaviest snowfall moves in overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning with the cold front. By Thursday morning we should see 3-6 inches on the mountains on the East side of the lake and 6-9 on the West side, with up to a foot on the highest peaks West of the lake. Then snow showers on Thursday drop a few more inches. It's not inconceivable that some peaks pick up 18 inches of snow, especially areas West of the crest on the other side of Donner and Echo passes.
The next system pushes in by Friday morning. This system is still expected to push South of us but is large enough to push precip into the Tahoe Basin. The latest model runs do show a few more inches possibly falling over the area. Snowfall amounts Friday morning through Saturday morning look similar to the first storm, but we could see up to a foot on the East side of the lake and up to 18 inches on the West side above 7000 ft. The biggest change with this system is the snow showers Saturday look to taper off by the end of the day instead of lingering into Saturday night and Sunday morning. Storm totals by Sunday morning for the 3 day period look to be around 6-15 inches at lake level with the highest amounts on the West shore. Above 7000 ft. 12-21 inches on the East side of the lake and 18-27 inhces on the West side. West of the lake along and just West of the Sierra crest we could see 24-33 inches. That's assuming an average 12:1 ratios on the mountains.
Here is the GFS total precip forecast by Sunday morning.
The models now start to diverge starting Sunday. The GFS is quick to build in the ridge and now shows dry conditions through next week. The Euro still shows several waves of precip. The first Sunday night into Monday, Monday night into Tuesday, and the final Wednesday into Thursday. If the European model is right we could see several more inches with each wave. The Canadian is supporting the European in showing more systems the beginning of next week.
Here is a look at the Euro total precip forecast through next Thursday. Quite a bit more precip in addition to the map above.
So we will have to watch the trend over the next couple of days. If the GFS is right then we go back into a dry pattern next week. If the Euro is right we stay in a snowy pattern. The GFS was showing system next week the last few days and the drier pattern is new. The other models may trend that way or the GFS is too early in building in the ridge up the West Coast.
The forecast models are all in agreement that the ridge builds along the West Coast by the end of next week with a dry and mild pattern going into the weekend of the 7th. Here is a look at the GFS ensembles forecast for the pattern that weekend. Notice the trough has shifted West to the North of Hawaii.
The GFS fore several days has been showing the trough shifting back towards the West Coast with increased storminess beyond the 10th of March. The Canadian ensemble runs are now starting to support that as well. The European runs keep the trough South of the Aleutians and the ridge along the West Coast in the extended range starting the 7th. So the European is delayed in the ridge building in next week, and also delayed in the trough moving back in the following week. Of course this is all way out in fantasy range and is more for our amusement than a forecast. Let's hope the Euro is right in keeping storms through the 6th, and the GFS and Canadian continue to trend towards storms returning after the 10th. That would keep the dry pattern under a week.
Here is the GFS on the 11th of March.
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