Tahoe Daily Snow

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By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 2 months ago December 5, 2023

A Little Snow and then Dry Again...

Summary

Mostly sunny and mild for Tuesday. Two weak systems bring some rain and snow showers Wednesday through Thursday night. The weekend looks dry again into the week of the 11th. We could possibly see a few storms around the 15th-19th.

Short Term Forecast

We have one last mild day on Tuesday with mostly sunny skies. Highs into the 50s for the lower elevations near lake level and 40s for the upper mountains.

Wednesday - Thursday Systems:

The winds are going to crank up from the southwest on Wednesday with ridgetop gusts up to 90-100+ mph over the exposed ridgetops by afternoon. So expect some upper mountain lift closures. The gusty winds will continue into Thursday with west winds gusting up to 60-70+ mph over the exposed ridges. Highs in the 40s for Wednesday morning and then dropping into the 30s Wednesday afternoon and 30s for highs Thursday.

The latest model runs have slowed the front's arrival with the initial band of precipitation to midday-early afternoon Wednesday, with the steadiest precipitation expected during the afternoon-evening hours. Here is a look at the front moving through on our forecast radar map.

forecast radar

That may allow the colder air to work in with snow levels falling a bit faster as the precipitation associated with the front moves through. Snow levels may start up around 7000-7500 ft. Wednesday afternoon and then fall close to lake level (~6000 ft.) by evening.

After the band of steadier precipitation moves through we expect the precipitation to become lighter and more scattered Wednesday night through Thursday night. A second weak system moves through Thursday keeping the shower chances going. Snow levels look to drop below lake level Wednesday night and stay there through Thursday night, bottoming out below 4000 ft. by the time the system clears out early Friday morning.

The latest model runs are a tiny bit wetter this morning as they have the track of the Thursday system a bit farther south with a better chance for snow showers. The range for total precipitation is 0.5 - 0.8 inches up along the Sierra crest, with up to 0.45 inches reaching the east side of the Tahoe basin. Fading amounts south of Kirkwood down to Dodge Ridge.

wpc total precip

Around two-thirds of the potential snowfall could fall through Wednesday evening, with lighter amounts of 0-3 inches possible through Thursday night. Here is my updated snowfall forecast.

snowfall forecast

Lower elevations near lake level will start as rain and will have lower snow ratios. South of Kirkwood amounts would be on the low end of the forecast. The snow will start wetter and become drier by the end Thursday night.

The Weekend:

Friday we expect mostly sunny skies and cold temperatures. Highs in the 30s and only 20s for the higher peaks. The winds come down and it should be a nice but chilly day. The ski areas may be able to make snow around the clock on the upper mountains.

Saturday and Sunday the storms continue to our north and they could bring us some clouds. We could see partly sunny skies with highs warming into the 40s as high pressure (orange) builds in over the region.

ridge

Extended Forecast

The high-pressure ridge is forecast to stay over the region through the 14th with a dry pattern continuing over northern CA and the Sierra.

dry pattern

Mid-month Hope:

The long-range forecast models continue to suggest that the ridge breaks down and shifts east by the 15th, and is replaced by a trough (blue) digging into the West Coast for 4-5 days.

trough

The GFS model (above) is the deepest and broadest with the trough, opening up the door to a couple of wetter systems possibly spinning up into the trough and moving into the West Coast. The European and some other models are not as impressive and only open the door to a couple of weak systems at best.

The GFS ensemble mean model continues to show the chance for near to above-average precipitation from around the 15th-19th. The other models show increased precipitation amounts during this period even though their deterministic model runs don't show any impressive storms currently.

We'll continue to hold onto hope for some storms to bring us snow during this period. Especially since the models continue to suggest that high pressure builds back in near the West Coast again by the 20th.

ridge 2

High pressure continues to want to build in that area which is keeping the storm track mainly to our north when storms do push into the West Coast, and is bringing a quick return to a dry pattern between the stronger storms.

One positive sign this week could be that the northeast Pacific continues to cool.

ssts

Maybe that will help with the feedback from the warm El Nino waters to the south and we could see more of an influence on the southern branch of the jet stream into the southwest later in the winter, and the ridge won't want to constantly sit near the West Coast. For now, there are no signs that our pattern will become consistently wet for CA. Ugh...

Stay tuned...BA

P.S. Here is our latest podcast live from the airport last night. We changed up the show format and we hope you enjoy it! We talk about the weather patterns causing a slow start for CA and where it has been snowing so far. Give it a listen...

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About Our Forecaster

Bryan Allegretto

Forecaster

Bryan Allegretto has been writing insightful posts about snow storms for over the last 15 years and is known as Tahoe's go-to snow forecaster. BA grew up in south Jersey, surfing, snowboarding, and chasing down the storms creating the epic conditions for both.

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