Tahoe Daily Snow

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By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 21, 2024

Drier & Milder into The Weekend...

Summary

Scattered snow showers Wednesday morning will be clearing through the day. Mostly sunny Thursday through Sunday. A few showers are possible later Sunday into Sunday night. The next storm is expected for Monday, then possibly drier by the last day of the month. A colder and unsettled pattern is possible during the 1st week of March.

Short Term Forecast

The snow showers on Tuesday dropped a bit more snow than expected for some mountains. I was forecasting an additional 1-5 inches of snow and the ski areas are reporting an additional 1-9 inches of snow, with some decent bands of snow that moved through Tuesday night.

2.5-day storm totals are 16-38 inches so far. My final forecast for the storm back on Sunday morning was for 13-30 inches, so this storm is dropping more snow than I was expecting as it was approaching, which is always a good thing! We have above-average snowfall for February as we climb out of the early-season snow drought!

reports 2

We still have some snow showers around Wednesday morning, so I'll need to see if a final inch or two accumulates before putting out my forecaster report card for the storm.

Wednesday Weather:

We have some scattered snow showers still firing up over the mountains Wednesday morning.

radar

The showers will diminish through the morning with some clearing expected for the afternoon along with some sun. Highs in the 30s.

Nicer Weather:

High pressure builds in over the region Thursday through Saturday.

ridge

We will have mostly sunny skies each day along with lighter winds and milder temperatures. Highs into the 40s for the lower elevations Thursday, and then 40s up as high as 8000 ft. Friday and Saturday.

Sunday is a transition day as moisture from the cut-off low near the coast starts to approach the Sierra. Most forecast model runs show any light rain & snow showers not reaching the northern Sierra until the end of the day. We may see some increasing clouds Sunday afternoon with highs still in the 40s.

Sunday Night - Monday Night Storm:

The approaching trough from the north will help to draw in some moisture from the West Sunday night. Then the front moving through Monday is expected to bring a period of steadier precipitation. Then diminishing to showers Monday night and clearing out by Tuesday morning.

The question is how far west will the trough dig and how much moisture will reach the northern Sierra. The European model is one of the wettest model runs this morning as it digs the system a bit farther west.

euro

The GFS model is actually one of the driest model runs as it digs the trough down farther east more over the Great Basin and Rockies vs the West Coast and CA.

trough 1

The GFS model shows precipitation totals of only up to 0.35 inches near the crest by Tuesday morning, while the European model shows up to 1.2 inches, and up to 0.8 inches on the east side of the Sierra/Tahoe basin. The rest of the models range from 0.6 - 0.9 inches the model average this morning is around 0.8 inches.

wpc precip

We are expecting strong winds on Monday with ridgetop gusts from the west up to 80-90+ mph. So expect some lift closures. Highs in the 30s. This storm is not looking as cold with the trough digging out farther east. Snow levels could start up around 7000-8000 ft. Sunday evening and then fall to around 5500-6000 by Monday morning, and could hover near lake level before falling lower at the end.

Here is my initial snowfall forecast for the storm. 

snowfall

We have several more days to watch the trends and fine-tune the forecast as we get a clearer picture of the trajectory of the trough.

Extended Forecast

It still looks like we could see a break between storms for 2-3 days for the last two days of the month, and possibly into March 1st. The trough moves east with weak high pressure expected for the middle of next week.

Then the long-range models continue to show another cold trough digging south during the 1st week of March, but this time farther west over the West Coast and sticking around through the end of the week.

trough

That would bring a colder pattern and would open the door to storms spinning up into the trough off the coast where they can pick up a lot more moisture before moving into the West Coast. So we are still watching the first week of March as a period when we could see several storms bring more snow to the Sierra. We'll continue to watch the trends.

The last time we had a cold trough pattern for a week was back during the 2nd week of January when we saw a -PNA pattern at the same time as the active phase of the MJO moved through phases 2-3 in the Indian Ocean. That lined up with the -PNA cold trough pattern in January, and it looks to line up with the forecast for the 1st week of March.

mjo

The MJO phases lining up with the forecasted retraction of the East Asian Jet and a -PNA (trough) pattern for the West Coast, and the models showing the broad trough and storms moving into the West Coast, all lend to confidence in the pattern developing. At least for now... 

The PNA pattern is forecast to flip back positive going into the 2nd week of March, so we may go back toward the pattern we have been seeing most of the season. Let's hope we get a week of cold storms first.

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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