Tahoe Daily Snow
By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 10 days ago February 12, 2024
Partly-mostly sunny skies for Monday and Tuesday. Increasing clouds and winds Wednesday with showers possible by afternoon. Snow for Wednesday night into Thursday. More storms are possible for President's Weekend into the week of the 19th. That pattern backs off later next week, and then a colder and semi-active pattern is possible for the last few days of February.
Short Term Forecast
It's the start of a new week here in February and the season is more than halfway over for most ski areas. These seasons go by so fast! The good news is that it will be an active week for storms starting Wednesday, and possibly active through next Tuesday-Wednesday before things quiet back down.
Monday - Tuesday:
Partly sunny for Monday and Tuesday. Fairly nice days with lighter winds and highs into the 40s for the lower elevations.
Wednesday - Thursday Storm:
Increasing clouds and winds for Wednesday. Highs are still into the 40s down near lake level and 30s for the upper mountains. Ridgetop winds from the southwest increasing with gusts up to 60-70+ mph by afternoon. We could see a few light snow showers reach the mountains NW of the lake during the afternoon.
Most of the precipitation from the next storm is expected for Wednesday night into Thursday. This storm is going to try and tap into some deeper moisture to the south and direct it toward the northern Sierra by Thursday morning.
The question will be how much moisture and how far south. The GFS model has finally jumped on board and has up to 1 inch of total precipitation falling NW of the lake near Donner Summit, but then amounts fading to the south.
The ICON model has the heavier precipitation reaching farther south down to Bear Valley & Dodge Ridge. The range for totals west of the lake near the crest this morning is 0.45 - 1.5 inches, and the total model average is up around a tenth to nearly 1 inch near the crest. Some shadowing to the east side of the lake with the wettest models showing up to 0.6 inches.
The storm looks to wind down by Thursday evening. The winds could still be gusty Thursday morning but then look to fall through the afternoon. Highs in the 30s.
Snow levels could start around 6300-6800 ft. Wednesday evening, fall to around 5300-5800 ft. by early Thursday morning, and then back up to around 6000-6500 ft. by Thursday afternoon. That means some rain to start at lake level, and rain possibly mixing in again by Thursday afternoon, with some snow in the middle. Expecting all snow above 7k'.
Here is my updated snowfall forecast, which is up about an inch on the high-end near the crest, but down about an inch on the east side of the basin with the latest model runs showing a bit more shadowing of the precipitation.
The latest model runs show a break in the storms on Friday. We could see partly sunny skies with similar weather to Monday & Tuesday. Highs in the 30s on the mountains to around 40 degrees down near lake level.
The next storm is still expected to move in sometime on Saturday. This storm will be weakening by the time it reaches the Sierra and may take its time reaching us. The latest model runs suggest that the steadier rain and snow may hold off until Saturday afternoon, and then sweeps through Saturday night and starts to clear Sunday morning.
That's a fast-moving system that will limit precipitation amounts. Most of the models this morning show less than an inch of total precipitation from this storm.
We will likely see gusty ridgetop winds of 40-50+ mph. Highs in the 30s. Snow levels could be fluctuating for lake level with some rain mixing in, and several inches of snow is possible on the mountains above 7000 ft. by Sunday morning. We'll be looking deeper into the details of this storm on Tuesday as it comes into the 5-day forecast window.
Sunday still looks to be a bit of a break between storms. We could see some scattered showers with highs in the 30s.
Sunday Night - Tuesday:
The next storm could move in by Sunday night continuing into next Monday, and possibly lingering into next Tuesday the 20th. The track of this system will want to favor southern CA, so we'll have to see how far north the heaviest rain and snow track. The latest model runs still show it far enough north for some decent totals over the Tahoe basin.
This storm looks a bit colder as well so it could bring mostly snow down to lake level. This storm could bring some significant snowfall totals if the current track holds. We will be watching the trends closely all week as Monday is typically a busy return travel day from the 3-day weekend.
Later Next Week:
Some models suggest a final weaker system sneaks in for Wednesday the 21st, while others begin to build in high pressure near the West Coast beginning a quieter pattern. That quieter pattern is expected through the end of the week, and possibly into the weekend of the 24th-25th with high pressure over the West Coast.
The long-range models continue to suggest a negative PNA/colder West Coast trough pattern setting up during the last few days of the month.
Besides some colder air for the West, that pattern could open the door to a colder storm or two dropping into the west side of the trough from the northwest before the end of the month. We'll continue to watch the trends on that potential pattern to end the month.