Partly sunny with breezy winds Thursday. A weak system with a few rain & snow showers along with gusty winds Friday. A wetter storm with heavier snow moves in Saturday night into Sunday evening. A drier pattern starting Monday through Friday the 10th. The pattern could start to shift again around the 11th.
Short Term Forecast
No changes to the forecast other than to increase the winds for Friday. We have a very weak system Friday and a strong snowstorm on the way for Saturday night into Sunday. Then drier next week.
Thursday we'll see increasing high clouds along with increasing ridgetop winds. High temperatures into the 30s for the upper mountains and 40s at lake level. Ridgetop winds from the southwest gusting up to 30-40+ mph.
Weak & Windy Friday System:
Winds increase Thursday night into Friday morning. When the ski areas open Friday morning we could've ridgetop gusts up to 70-80+ mph for exposed mountains, which could cause some delays with upper mountain lift openings. Then the winds come down through the afternoon. Highs drop into the 30s.
This is a weak system that may bring some scattered rain and snow showers to the Tahoe basin during the day, with snow levels hovering between 6000-7000 ft. It could stay completely dry on the east side of the lake. West of the lake up along the crest the wettest models only show up to a tenth of an inch of total precip by Friday evening.
No snowfall forecast is needed as the wettest model runs would only bring a high-end of 1 inch of snow on the peaks along the crest. The best chance to see a coating to an inch looks to be northwest of the lake with little if any snow accumulating south of the basin.
Saturday Night - Sunday Storm:
Saturday we should see partly sunny skies with increasing clouds and winds ahead of the next storm. Some warmer air works in ahead of the storm with the south-southwest flow. Highs into the 30s on the upper mountains and 40s at lake level. Ridgetop winds gusting up to 50-60+ mph by afternoon, which could affect some upper mountain lifts.
We could see rain & snow reach the mountains on the west side of the basing between 5-8 PM, and then quickly spreads east across the basin. The heaviest snow should fall Saturday night into Sunday morning with lighter snow into Sunday afternoon. Then scattered snow showers winding down Sunday evening.
Highs drop into the 20s for the upper mountains and low 30s at lake level. Ridgetop winds could be gusting up to 50-60+ mph from the west Sunday morning, which could cause some upper mountain lift opening delays. Then coming down through the afternoon.
Not much change to the model forecasts for total precipitation The European and GFS models are still the wettest, showing up to 2+ inches of total precipitation west of the lake along the crest. the other models have a range of 0.9 - 1.6 inches. The total model average is still around 1.6 inches along the crest with up to 1 inch to the east side of the basin, similar to what the ICON model shows.
The snow levels start out high, up around 7000 ft. 7 PM Saturday as the snow moves in, but they drop pretty fast at the start and should drop below lake level later Saturday evening. Then leveling off in the 4200-4700 ft. range for Sunday, and dropping below 4000 ft. at the end Sunday evening.
Snow ratios start lower Saturday night and then increase into Sunday. They could be sitting around 10-15:1 much of the storm Sunday from lake level up to 9000 ft. Not wet but not super dry either. Then becoming more powdery Sunday evening as the storm winds down.
Here is my updated snowfall forecast which is exactly the same as yesterday with the forecast models staying consistent with the precip forecasts.
We have two more days to fine-tune the forecast.
No changes this morning to the long-range forecast as well. Starting Monday we transition back into a drier pattern as high pressure builds in over CA, which could last through Friday the 10th.
We start out somewhat cold Monday behind the storm with partly-mostly sunny skies highs in the 30s, and the winds becoming lighter. Mostly sunny skies should continue Tuesday, and again Thursday into Friday, with highs into the 30s on the mountains and 40s at lake level.
Wednesday is the one day we'll keep an eye on as a weak system moves through to our north and drops southeast into the Great Basin to our east. Most models keep us dry, but a few including the GFS brush us with some clouds, a shot of slightly colder air, and maybe a few light snow showers.
We'll keep an eye on that to see if we could see a dusting of snow Wednesday.
The long-range models continue to show the pattern shifting around the 11th, with the ridge building in the eastern pacific to our west, and a trough over the West.
Initially, a storm could try to spin up off the coast and move into CA around the 11th.
Then with the trough over the West and not centered over the West Coast, we could see weaker systems drop down from the north into the west side of the trough. But overall the long-range models still suggest a more active pattern is possible from the 11th - 17th, even if the storms are cold and weak. If a storm tracks down just off the coast it could tap additional Pacific moisture, so we'll keep an eye on storm trends.
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This week we talk about Where the Snow Is Headed as we reach the Mid-Point of Winter, catch up with Powder Chaser Stever to see Where He is Chasing Snow, check in with Zach Butler to see What the Heck is Going On with the Northeast's Winter, report the 5-Day Snowfall Totals around the U.S., look at the Snowfall Forecast for The Upcoming Week, and discuss The Long-Range Snowfall Patterns!