Tahoe Daily Snow
By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 3 months ago November 29, 2023
Mostly sunny Wednesday. A more active pattern starting Thursday with weak systems possible through Sunday with a little snow for the mountains. A drier pattern starting Monday. We could see another weak system later next week.
Short Term Forecast
I've been poo-pooing the forecast this week with the weak systems coming through the region. Getting some snow is a good thing but in my mind, at this point, it's time for bigger storms as the ski areas are trying to get trails open on mainly man-made snow.
Although the forecast is still pretty dismal through next week, there are some signs that the month could become more active later in December. At some point the dam could break, so I am holding onto hope, as usual, that we'll have good snow by the holidays.
We have another nice day on Wednesday if you like sunny skies. Highs into the 40s as we watch a cut-off low go by off the coast and miss us.
We should see snow showers increase over the northern Sierra by late morning on Thursday with snow showers around into Thursday night.
As you can see on our forecast radar map above, the showers are fairly scattered with this weak system. Total precipitation forecasts on the latest model runs range from 0.1 - 0.4 inches near the Sierra crest with lesser amounts making it to the east side of the Sierra.
Highs will be in the 30s for the lower elevations with snow levels expected to range between 5000-6000 ft. Thursday and then fall below 4000 ft. Thursday night. That will bring decent snow ratios by Sierra standards with coating up to a few inches of snow possible, and a bit powdery on the upper mountains. We don't need powder yet, we need base-building snow.
The latest model runs still show clouds and a little sun for Friday, but drier with only a few scattered snow showers around the region. Highs are still in the 30s.
Friday Night - Sunday Systems:
More storms move through to our north over the weekend, eventually bringing in warmer air on Sunday with rising snow levels. The latest model runs still disagree on how far south the moisture pushes over the weekend. There is a lot of moisture streaming into the Pacific NW just to our north.
When I wrote the Tuesday morning forecast only the Canadian model was keeping us completely dry. This morning (Wednesday) the European model is now dry as well as it keeps the moisture to the north of the Tahoe basin.
Outside of those two forecast models, the rest of the models range 0.1 - 0.6 inches of liquid in total near the Sierra crest, with lesser amounts to the east side of the Sierra. The GFS model is still one of the wettest, but it's not showing amounts over an inch anymore on the high end. So these systems by themselves look to bring less precipitation than the weak system on Thursday.
The total model average is less than 3 tenths of an inch. The WPC's blended model forecast is the wettest but it may be lagging on averaging in the trend drier over the past 24 hours.
For the wetter models, they have only light precipitation with scattered showers Friday night into Saturday, with the best shot at a few steadier showers Sunday.
Highs will still be in the 30s on Saturday but on Sunday as warmer air moves in with the AR to our north the highs could reach 40 degrees for the lower elevations near Lake Tahoe level. Snow levels start out low Friday night into Saturday below 6000 ft. Then they rise above 6500 ft. by Sunday morning, above 7000 ft. by Sunday afternoon, and launch above 9000 ft. Sunday night.
Based on the trend drier and the warmer system on Sunday. My snowfall forecast for the weekend is actually the same as for Thursday.
Overall a colder period through Sunday. We could see a few up to several inches of new snow over the 4-day period for the upper mountains for the ski areas west of the lake near the Sierra crest, and a coating up to a few inches to the east and south.
By Monday the long-range of the forecast models still show high pressure (orange) building back in over the West with a drier and milder pattern returning.
We could see mostly sunny skies each day through Wednesday with highs rebounding into the 40s starting Monday, and possibly breaking into the 50s for the lower elevations near Lake Tahoe level by Tuesday.
There are some strong storms still moving through the northeast Pacific through the end of next week, and the long-range models suggest they could try to flatten the ridge later next week.
That could allow the storms to brush the northern Sierra again by next Thursday-Friday.
We'll continue to watch the trends on that. We don't want to be brushed by weak systems again, we want a wetter and cold storm to build the bases, but right now through the 2nd week of December, I'm still only seeing chances of weak storms if any.
The extended range models that go through the end of December are hinting at the pattern opening up a bit more with the northeast Pacific trough (blue) nudging a bit closer to the West Coast. The jet stream should also be stronger by mid-month into the 2nd half of December.
The European Weeklies model shows the heaviest precipitation still hitting the Pacific NW the second half of the month, but with the storm pushing a bit farther south with near normal precipitation for the northern Sierra. The GFS extended model shifts the storm track farther south into CA with well above average precipitation forecast.
I keep feeling like the dam could burst at some point in December. We'll continue to watch the long-range with eagerness. Maybe we'll have a big comeback later in the month, similar to how the Eagles like to play their games this season. Both are giving me heartburn...
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