Partly sunny on Monday. A storm moves in Tuesday morning with heavier snow into the evening. Snow showers Wednesday. Partly sunny Thursday and Friday with a chance for scattered snow showers. Snow showers are possible each day through at least next Wednesday the 5th. A drier pattern is possible during the 2nd week of April.
Short Term Forecast
It's a cold morning with temperatures in the teens and single digits around the Tahoe basin as the sun rises. We will start the day with sunny skies and highs warming into the 20s for the upper mountains and 30s at lake level. We could see some high clouds increase through the afternoon ahead of the next storm approaching the West Coast.
Monday night we could see a few light snow showers reach the crest on the west side of the lake during the early morning hours. Southerly flow increases with ridgetop winds up to 80-90+ mph by daybreak.
Tuesday - Wednesday Storm:
The snow will increase near the crest during the morning hours Tuesday and will start to spill over into the Tahoe basin. The heavier snow is expected to start pushing in by late morning as the cold front approaches and the winds turn more to the southwest, and increase with gusts up to 100+ mph over the ridges. That should keep quite a few ski lifts closed on Tuesday.
The heavier snow is expected through the afternoon and into the evening as the band of heavier snow starts to shift to the south. Here is a look at the forecast radar from Monday night into Tuesday evening.
Most of the snow with this storm will fall by Tuesday evening. Then a lull with scattered snow showers later Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The winds drop off Wednesday. The center of the low near the coast moves south but is close enough for enough moisture to be around for increasing snow showers Wednesday afternoon-evening with the help of daytime heating.
We could see some peeks of the sun through the clouds Wednesday, especially over the lake with the sinking air. Highs in the 20s for the upper mountains on both days and 30s for the lower elevations and lake level.
The latest model runs have trended up very slightly with the total precipitation forecasts. The range near the crest is 1.3 - 1.9 inches and up to 1.35 inches to the east side of the basin. The total model average near the crest is up 2-tenths to around 1.6 inches this morning. Here is a look at the WPC's blended model forecast which shows the same.
We could see slightly more south of the Tahoe basin into the central Sierra. Snow levels look to start out around 5000-5600 ft. Tuesday morning, and likely hovering near 5000 ft. into the afternoon. Low enough for all snow to and below lake level into Truckee. Then dropping below 3000 ft. Tuesday night, up to 5000 ft. Wednesday, and back below 3000 ft. Wednesday night.
Snow ratios could be near the Tahoe average around 9-14:1 from lake level up to 9000 ft. Thicker snow for the lower elevation Tuesday. Then averaging around 12-18:1 with drier more powdery snow on the mountains with any snow showers Tuesday - Wednesday night. Here is my updated and possibly final forecast for the storm for expected snowfall totals through Wednesday night.
I have Dodge Ridge in the highest zone. It's like a broken record this season with the heaviest snow zone near Dodge Ridge with most storms.
Thursday - Friday:
Partly sunny for both days with scattered snow showers possible. Especially during the afternoon-evening hours with some daytime heating helping with lift and instability. Highs in the 20s for the upper mountains and 30s for lake level. Lighter winds are expected to continue.
Only very light snowfall of a dusting to an inch at best is expected on the mountains on both days.
The trend on the latest model runs is for the next trough digging down the West Coast to not dig as far south Saturday, and then digging through CA Sunday. That has several of the forecast models now keeping the steadiest snow with the Saturday system staying to the north of the Tahoe basin, with just more scattered snow showers possible.
The European model is farther south with the Saturday system with steadier precipitation reaching just far enough south to push into the Tahoe basin. Then two more systems behind that for Sunday night into Monday and Tuesday night into Wednesday.
The GFS and Canadian models show only up to a tenth of an inch of precipitation reaching the crest Saturday with the European model showing up to 8-tenths later Friday night through Saturday night. The trend is drier so maybe the European and ICON models will trend farther north over the next few days. We are right on the line so the models could trend either way.
For now, Saturday looks like it could be similar to the days preceding it with partly sunny skies, highs in the 20s & 30s, and scattered snow showers during the afternoon-evening.
The forecast models are in better agreement that the next system moving in by Sunday evening into Monday morning will dig a bit farther south with the steadier snow showers. We could start the day with partly sunny skies and highs into the 20s for the upper mountains and 30s at lake level.
Total precipitation forecasts from Friday afternoon through Sunday night range between 0.1 - 1.5 inches near the crest, and up to 0.5 inches to the east side of the basin. That's a big range that we will need to iron out this week. Here is a look at the WPC's blended model which is close to the model average of 0.7 inches near the crest.
Snow levels could rise up to 6500 ft. Friday afternoon and even higher to 6500-7000 ft. Saturday afternoon with some warmer air working in ahead of the Saturday system. That could bring some rain showers to lake level and below both days and some wetter snow to the lower mountains. Snow levels look to drop below 4000 ft. Friday night and between 5000-6000 ft. Saturday night. Then back below 4000 ft. by Sunday night.
Snow ratios could average around 8-14:1 from lake level up to 9000 ft. through the weekend. Here is my updated snowfall forecast for Friday afternoon through Sunday night.
Most of the snowfall forecast is expected to be split between Saturday afternoon-evening and again Sunday afternoon-night. There is expected to be decent shadowing east of the crest across the basin to the east side. If the models all trend drier for the Saturday system then most of the snowfall will be expected with the Sunday system.
As I showed you above on the European model, snow showers could continue into next Monday the 3rd, and then another system could dive into the trough with more snow showers for Tuesday into Wednesday the 5th.
The trough is expected to sit over the West through the end of next week keeping the cold air and unsettled pattern over the region.
We could see another system bring snow showers later next week behind the Tue-Wed system. More details on the potential snowfall amounts by the end of this week as the storms get closer. Overall the long-range models keep above-average precipitation over the northern/central Sierra through the 7th/8th.
Beyond the 7th/8th going through the 2nd week of April, the long-range models continue to show high-pressure building over the West Coast.
That could finally bring a drier and milder pattern. But with the winter we have been having, and with the long-range models showing this in the long-range only to have it reverse as we got closer, I'm not trusting it yet. Beyond mid-April the snowfall averages drop-off and it's much harder to see wetter storms through the end of the wet season, not impossible, just harder.
We'll continue to watch the trends to see if this crazy winter is finally showing signs of winding down.