Tahoe Daily Snow

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By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 9 years ago February 3, 2015

Year to Date...


Clouds and wind will begin to increase by Thursday.  Friday the precip begins to push in with the heaviest precip Friday night into Saturday.  Snow levels look to be around 8,000 feet.  Saturday into Sunday the precip may continue with rising snow levels.  Sunday night into Monday another system moves through with a cold front at the end.  Snow levels may lower to 8,000 feet Sunday night and drop close to lake level as the system is winding down and moving away.  Above 8,000 feet we could see 1-2 feet of heavy wet snow, with possibly more along the crest and above 9,000 feet.  

Quiet weather returns by next Tuesday for at least several days.  There are signs the ridge could shift Northwest beyond mid-month which could lead to some colder weather and possibly some colder storms.




Not too much change from yesterday as we are expecting heavy precip with a system Friday night and again Sunday night.  The biggest change is that the GFS and Canadian models now show the precip continuing Saturday night into Sunday.  The European still has a break in the precip.  Snow levels look to rise during this time frame so it would mean more rain below 9,000 feet.  Winds will be howling on the ridge tops possibly up to 100 mph ahead of the storm Thursday night into Friday.

The GFS was updated a couple weeks ago and this is our first AR event using the updated GFS.  It is still showing double the amount of precip in some places over Northern CA as compared to the other models.  So I'm not sure if I'm buying some of the 20 inches of rain numbers it is throwing out until we see what happens.  Over the Tahoe basin there is pretty good consensus of 2-3 inches of liquid with up to 4 along the crest.  Even on the Euro with the break in the precip as it pushes more precip into the basin with the waves Friday night and sunday night.  So I think the WPC's forecast is a nice blend.


Some people are already complaining about the snow levels, but when you are in a drought this big any water is our first focus.  Not much change in the snow level forecast.  Still expecting them to be around 8,000 feet Friday night and again Sunday night during the heaviest precip with the 2 waves.  They will start out higher than that and will rise between systems on Saturday into Sunday, possibly above 9,000 feet.  A cold front moving through at the end of the second system should lower snow levels close to lake level, but most of the precip will have fallen by then.  It will be interesting to see how fast they do fall into Monday morning.

This storm is similar to the one we saw a year ago on the same weekend after the dry spell last season.  We were expecting similar snow levels with that one as well.  The snow levels were a bit lower than expected with that one with the heavy precip at the onset.  We picked up a couple feet of heavy wet snow here on Donner Summit at 7k feet before it turned to rain, and then back to snow at the very end.  There is a small chance we could see the same scenario at the onset with the drier air in place to start and the heavy precip on the West side and along the crest.  You can see it on the GFS freezing level forecast with slightly lower freezing levels near the heaviest precip Friday night.

Don't get your hopes up though, for now let's expect snow levels to bottom out at 8,000 feet before rising over the weekend and then falling Sunday night back to around 8,000 feet, and then lower Monday before it ends.

Above 8,000 feet wherever the snow line does setup we will have very low snow:water ratios.  Where 3-4 inches of liquid on the crest could be 3-4 feet in a colder storm, we may see closer to 2 - 2.5 feet of snow.  Across the rest of the basin maybe 1-2 feet above 8,000 feet is the early call with more possible above 9,000 feet.  Then a few inches possible below that Monday morning depending on the speed of the cold air working in versus the precip ending.

We still have a few more days to keep fine tuning the numbers.


The ridge rebuilds next week with dry weather returning.  Still watching the possibility that the ridge shifts Northwest beyond mid-month allowing some colder air to work into the West.  It may allow some colder systems to dig down from the North or even undercut the ridge later in the month.

The climate models are still staying positive.  The Jamstec tends to be a fairly good long-range model and keeps us wet through April.  We'll see....


Don't forget to stop by to hang out tonight at the 50/50 brewery in Truckee at 8.  OpenSnow and TahoeSkiBum are hosting a little get together to watch some ski/board films and just to hang out together.  There will also be a some prizes being raffled off for the Tahoe Fund.

Stay tuned....BA



About Our Forecaster

Bryan Allegretto


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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