Tahoe Daily Snow

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Weak Systems Sun-Wed...


Mostly sunny through Saturday along with lighter winds. Weak systems for Sunday through Wednesday with some light snow each day. Another weak storm is possible for Friday the 24th. The storm door looks to remain open through the end of the month, but most storms look to be fairly weak.

Short Term Forecast

We are enjoying mostly sunny days and a much-needed break from the storms through Saturday. Here is a view of the lake from Heavenly early Friday morning. No clouds but a little haze as inversions tried to form overnight.


Highs are warming into the 40s for the lower elevations and 30s for the upper mountains through Saturday, along with lighter winds.

Sunday - Monday Systems:

Looking at the satellite image of the Pacific Friday morning, we can see a system splitting apart off of the coast, and the next system farther west that will move into CA Sunday.


That will bring rain and snow showers into the northern/central Sierra by Sunday morning. The showers are expected to continue into Monday with a reinforcing wave moving through. 

sunday storm

We could see a short lull in the precipitation Monday night ahead of the next storm that moves in Tuesday. Highs will drop into the 30s for Sunday and then into the 20s for the upper mountains Monday and near freezing at lake level. Ridgetop winds from the southwest will be gusting up to 40-50+ mph Sunday and 50-60+ mph Monday. That could affect some exposed upper mountain lifts.

The best chance to see some steadier/heavier snow showers moving through will be west of the lake up along the Sierra crest. The latest model runs show up to 0.7 - 1.5 inches of total precipitation through Monday night, and up to 0.75 inches to the east side of the basin. The total model average is only around 1.2 inches near the crest for the two-day period. 

The highest totals could be NW of the lake near Donner Summit through Monday. Here is a look at the GFS model forecast through Monday which is closest to the total model average.

gfs precip

Snow levels will start out a little higher on Sunday. They could be around 6500-7000 ft. early Sunday morning as the showers move in, and then fall to 6000-6500 ft. through Sunday evening. That is hovering right near lake level so we could see a mix of rain and snow near lake level and below. The falling to 5000-5500 ft. Sunday night into Monday which is below lake level.

The snow ratios start lower for Sunday with wetter snow on the mountains. Then increasing to 12-15:1 on the mountains above 7000 ft. Sunday night into Monday with some drier snow falling. Here is my updated snowfall forecast for Sunday through Monday.

snowfall 1

Around 60% of the forecast is expected to fall by early Monday morning when the ski areas measure, and then a few-several inches are possible during the day on Monday, especially up along the crest and over the higher peaks.

Tuesday - Wednesday Storm:

The last few days I have been very vague with my forecasts for the Tue-Wed storm. I've been telling you that I didn't trust the models, especially now that we are into spring and the models are less accurate, especially with the track of closed lows that we see in spring and like we will see Tue-Wed. 

I'm glad I waited until today to start into any details because I was right and the models have been changing the forecast details. They have been trending the track of the storm farther south into southern CA, with a negatively tilted trough and southerly flow for the northern Sierra and Tahoe.

tue storm

I'm glad I didn't fake you out with any hype as I'm seeing a lot of hype online and this doesn't look like more than just another weak storm for the Tahoe basin. Southerly flow on negatively tilted storms usually shadows us from heavier precipitation. The GFS model shows the latest forecast well with the heaviest precipitation well to our south and lighter amounts over the Tahoe basin.

gfs tue

It will be colder with highs in the 20s for the upper mountains to near freezing at lake level both days. The winds will likely be fairly light from the south-southeast. We could see light or scattered snow showers Tuesday through Wednesday night. A better chance for some steadier showers Tuesday, especially near the crest and south of the Tahoe basin. The lighter and more scattered Wednesday.

The snow levels will be fairly low, fluctuating between 3500-5500 ft. through the period. Snow ratios could average around 12-17:1 from lake level up to 9000 ft. over the 2-day period. That means any snow that falls on the mountains should be on the drier side with some fun powdery turns to be had. Here is my initial snowfall forecast for Tue-Wed.


You can see I actually have less snow forecasted for this "stronger" storm than with the weaker systems Sunday - Monday. I have the mountains farther south in red as they should pick up higher amounts than the mountains around the lake. Dodge Ridge could see up to 12+ inches. Around 70% of the forecasted snowfall could fall by Wednesday morning.

In total for the 4-day period, I am only expecting several inches up to a foot for lake level, maybe slightly more west of highway 89, and 1-2 feet for the mountains. That breaks out to an average of only 3-8 inches per day, so overall a series of weak systems by Sierra standards.

Extended Forecast

We could see a brief break in the storms with partly sunny skies and highs into the 30s for Thursday. Then sometime Thursday night into next Friday the 24th, the latest model runs still show another weak system moving through.

friday system

That could bring several inches of new snow to the Tahoe basin, so we will continue to watch the trends on that system. It's late March so stronger storms are getting harder to come by. But the active pattern over the next week will continue to add to the impressive winter season, and we should see at least a few mountains break the 700" mark by next Friday.

The ensemble mean models continue to show troughing over the West and West Coast through the last week of March. That should keep temperatures below average and the storm door open.


Most of the storms we see should be on the weaker side. The GFS model gives it one last try to bring in a wetter storm around the 27th, so we'll keep an eye on that. Overall the trough looks to shift east with time so the storms may be dropping in from the north over land which is a drier track.

Fantasy Range:

As we get towards the last day of the month the trough is forecast to continue to shift east, so our pattern may become progressively drier. By the weekend of the 1st-2nd, the long-range models are still hinting at high-pressure building in near the West Coast.


Hopefully, that is a sign that we will see a nice weekend with lots of sun to start April. The 06z GFS operational model run tries to bring in another storm by Sunday the 2nd, but that would be somewhat at odds with its own ensemble mean model forecast for the height pattern above. So we'll continue to hope it will be a nice weekend.

Stay tuned...BA


The Flakes!

This week, Mike loses his mind as winter continues into Spring with no end in sight. Will we see any spring skiing before the ski areas close in April? Caleb is chasing snow in Canada this week. We run through all the numbers including the updated top 10 snowfall list. Then we talk through the forecasts for more storms and snow across the country and search for any signs of a break.

Available on most podcast platforms...