Tahoe Daily Snow
By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 3 months ago November 22, 2023
The dry pattern continues through the end of November outside of the chance for a few snow showers on Thanksgiving. Colder starting Thursday. The weather pattern may finally become active during the first week of December.
Short Term Forecast
We have one last mild day on Wednesday with partly-mostly sunny skies and highs into the 50s.
Thanksgiving Cold Front:
We have a cold front moving through from the northeast on Thanksgiving Day that will usher in colder air for the weekend. Highs will drop into the 30s through Sunday with overnight lows down into the teens. That is great news for ski areas trying to make snow during this slow start to the natural snow season.
The front moving through on Thursday is moisture-starved. We could see some clouds and maybe some scattered snow showers during the day as the front moves through. Most of the forecast models are dry, with the European model the wettest this morning showing some very light precipitation.
That would be enough for a dusting of snow on the mountains and maybe up to an inch near Mt. Rose on the high end if we see snow showers with the front. Then we have a cold east flow into the weekend, so be prepared for cold skiing if you plan to head up to the open ski areas.
End of the Month:
High pressure is still forecast to build back in over the West Coast through the end of the month.
That should continue the dry pattern and we should see some warming of the temperatures during the last few days of the month. We could also see inversions return for the mountains.
We have been eagerly awaiting the month of December as that is when we tend to see the storm activity pick up during El Nino seasons. The long-range models have been hinting at the storm activity picking up going into the first week of December. Here is a look at the GFS ensemble mean model forecast for precipitation for Sugar Bowl ski area through December 2nd.
You can see the forecast ramping up precipitation chances right away as we start December. The latest ensemble mean models agree that the ridge shifts away from the West Coast and is replaced by a deep trough during the first week of December which would indicate that the storm door will be opening.
Will any significant storms finally move into the West Coast? Taking a look at the latest model forecasts for the Pacific jet stream, they are finally showing a stronger and more parallel jet across the Pacific during the first week of December, and a southern branch developing.
That will help with storms spinning up and moving east into the West Coast. Here is a look at the storm forecast from the latest GFS model run, which is similar to previous runs this week for the first week of December.
That looks promising to me. We'll continue to watch the trends as we get closer. Hopefully, this is the start of our storm season with some good storms that produce snowfall.
The long-range models continue to be in decent agreement that the month of December as a whole will be active with above-average precipitation for CA, and below-average for the Pacific NW.
That looks like a classic El Nino pattern to me. Looking at the extended range forecasts through February, the climate models continue to show above average precipitation for at least central and southern CA and dry Pacific NW. Similar to the December forecast for the West Coast.
The northern Sierra and Tahoe Basin are usually on the northern edge of the wet pattern in a typical El Nino season. We don't have confidence this will be a typical season as discussed in past posts, but the long-range models continue to show an active pattern for CA this winter.
That means no need to fret with the slow start to the snowfall season in November. It's not uncommon for ski areas to open with snowmaking only by Thanksgiving. The snowfall averages are close to double for December vs November. Let's hope big things are on the way.
P.S. With the quiet pattern forecast through the end of the month, I'm going to take Thanksgiving off to spend time with family. We will take another look at December on Friday. Happy Thanksgiving!
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