Tahoe Daily Snow

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By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 2 months ago December 8, 2023

Dry Week Ahead...

Summary

Cold Friday. Dry and seasonal through next Friday the 15th. A storm is possible for the 16th-17th. A drier pattern is possible the week of the 18th. A stormier pattern is possible for the last week of December.

Short Term Forecast

The weak system that moved through Thursday afternoon-evening brought some scattered snow showers. The northwest side of the lake was brushed with the most snow showers with a dusting up to 2 inches of new snow being reported by the ski areas.

We were only expecting 0-3 inches so we got what we expected from the weak system that brushed us. 2-day storm totals of 4-16 inches for the upper mountains, with the highest totals NW of the lake as we were expecting.

reports 2

Here is my forecaster report card for the storms based on my final forecast from Wednesday morning. We had 5 ski areas come in over the forecast by 1-8 inches, with the rest reporting within the range of the final forecast.

report card

I like it when we see more than the forecast, green is good, and red is bad. Overall I underforecast by an average of 1.9 inches. My 8-year average is under forecasting by 1.5 inches, and my goal is to use these to fine-tune my formulas to stay under 1.5 inches.

Dry Pattern:

We have a cold morning Friday with temperatures in the 20s and teens which is good news for snowmaking. Friday we will start our week of mostly sunny skies but it starts out cold with highs only in the 30s for the lower elevations and 20s for the higher elevations.

High pressure is forecast to dominate our weather pattern for the next 7 days through next Friday the 15th.

high pressure

We expect mostly sunny skies each day with highs into the 40s for the lower elevations and 30s above 8000 ft. No precipitation is forecast so obviously the models are showing well below-average precipitation through the period.

dry

If you are looking for fresh snow over the next 7 days here is where we expect it to fall.

snow

Extended Forecast

The long-range models continue to try and push a trough into the West Coast for the weekend of the 16th-17th. They have been showing this all week. But it will be trying to displace the large high-pressure ridge and any troughing is forecast to be minimal with any storms likely weakening as they move into the West Coast.

Either way, we'll continue to watch the trends because we could see the door open to a storm for a couple of days, and the deterministic model runs continue to try and move a storm through northern CA around the 16th-17th.

long range storm

The ensemble mean models, which average dozens of ensemble member runs with slightly different inputs, show the precipitation showing up after a week of dry weather, but the total precipitation average for the storm is currently only around half an inch.

trends

We'll continue to watch the trends to see if we could just see a weak system with some light snow, or if a storm could spin up and pull in enough moisture to bring us a bit more snow next weekend.

Fantasy Range:

Beyond 10 days, the long-range models continue to show high pressure quickly building back in over the West Coast the week of the 18th, with a drier pattern returning behind any storm next weekend.

ridge 2

That means the well below-average precipitation is expected to continue leading up to the Christmas holiday, even if we see more snow the weekend of the 16th-17th. Hopefully with the storms we just had, on top of previous snowmaking, additional snowmaking this upcoming week, and possible snow next weekend, the mountains can get a decent amount of terrain open.

Last Week of December:

Look way out there for any signs of hope there are some for the last week of December.

I get messages from people who see other forecasters post things, sometimes seemingly as fact even though it's 2+ weeks out, and ask my thoughts. I can promise you I am spending every day looking for signs and I see what the other forecasters are seeing, I just don't like to get you overly excited or to speak as if signs 2 weeks out are anything more than speculative.

We saw signs that the pattern could be more active the 1st week of December 2 weeks out, and we only got smaller storms. There were signs mid-month could be more active, and now it looks like we may only get one weak-moderate storm. So seeing signs of an active pattern for the last week of December to be more active should be taken with a grain of salt.

Even so, the long-range models are showing a very large low-pressure trough sitting in the northeast Pacific near the West Coast by Christmas Eve, and possibly beyond.

large trough

When I see that the first thing I do is look at the Pacific jet stream to see if a stronger jet stream is forecast to extend toward the West Coast to help push storms spinning up in the trough into the West Coast, especially with the high-pressure ridge still forecast over the West.

Looking at the latest GFS model jet stream forecasts it shows a very strong jet stream (white) coming off of Japan by the 17th and extending closer to the West Coast by the 24th.

jet stream forecast

IF that pattern and jet stream forecast continues for late December, I would expect to start seeing storms show up around Christmas through the last week of December as that period comes into the 2-week forecast window. A Christmas Miracle? We'll see...

My friend Greg texted me yesterday saying I was being too negative and needed to give readers some hope in my forecasts. I don't like to forecast out more than two weeks, but there is your hope Greg.

Stay tuned...BA

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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