Tahoe Daily Snow

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By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 22, 2024

Milder Into the Weekend...

Summary

Mostly sunny Thursday through Saturday. Partly sunny for Sunday and then rain and snow move in Sunday night. Snow Monday lingers into Monday evening. Then drier midweek before a colder and unsettled pattern is possible during the 1st week of March.

Short Term Forecast

Final Snowfall Reports:

A few ski areas picked up a final inch of snow Wednesday morning. That brings the final storm totals from the 3-day storm to around 2 feet for most mountains, 16-17 inches for the lower elevation mountains, and then from Kirkwood down to Dodge Ridge reports of 25-39 inches!

reports

Officially at the Central Sierra Snow Lab, 23 inches was recorded which brings the February total to over 100 inches so far, which is around 150% of average for February! We had one of the lowest snowfall seasons on record in December, but are not at around 86% of average for the date, with more snow in the forecast.

For the forecaster report card for the storm, two ski areas came in with 1-2 inches less than my final forecast put out Sunday morning for the storm. The majority picked up the forecasted amounts, and 4 picked up 4-14 inches more than forecast, with the bullseye over Bear Valley.

variance

Milder Pattern:

We have high-pressure building in over the West Thursday into the weekend. We will see mostly sunny skies each day through Saturday, and likely into at least the first half of Sunday. Lighter winds and above-average temperatures through the period.

warm

High temperatures into the 40s for the lower elevations Thursday and 30s for the higher elevations, and then 40s up to 8000 ft. Friday through Sunday. We could see a few clouds start to move in later Sunday ahead of the next storm, and the winds will start to become breezy from the southwest.

Sunday Night - Monday Storm:

The latest model runs are trending a bit wetter for the Monday storm. Sunday night we start to see some moisture reach the Sierra from the cut-off low off the coast as it starts to move inland, and then that merges over the Sierra with the front moving down from the north on Monday.

monday storm

With the warmer system moving into SoCal from the west, and the heaviest precipitation ahead of the cold front from the north on Monday, we won't see the coldest air move in until Monday night behind the front. Highs in the 30s for Monday with strong winds gusting over 100 mph over the ridges and closing quite a few ski lifts most likely.

The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall on Monday and then showers into Monday night before clearing out by Tuesday morning. The models are trying to figure out where the heaviest precipitation will fall over the Sierra, but they have a bullseye someplace between the northern and central Sierra. The GFS model now shows up to 2.5 inches near the crest after being the driest model yesterday.

The rest of the models show 0.8 - 1.4 inches this morning near the crest by Tuesday morning, with up to 1.0 inches to the east side of the basin. The total model average is up about half an inch to around 1.3 inches.

wpc precip

Snow levels start high Sunday night up around 6500-7000 ft. and only falling to around 5900-6400 ft. by Monday morning, and then they could hover there near lake level through Monday afternoon. Hopefully, the heavier precipitation will drag and hold them to lake level. Then they plummet behind the cold front Monday night.

That means we will have lower snow ratios and higher density snow to start, and then snow ratios could average around 11:1 near 8k' through Monday, and then rise Monday night with some powdery snow to finish. Here is my updated snowfall forecast for the storm.

snowfall

The best day for skiing will be Tuesday due to the winds on Monday and the snow quality being better after temperatures drop on Monday night.

Tuesday - Thursday:

Weak high pressure is expected to build in for the middle of next week.

ridge

That is expected to bring a few days of partly-mostly sunny skies. HIghs into the 30s on the mountains and 40s for the lower elevations near lake level.

Extended Forecast

We have been expecting a change in the pattern for the first week of March for a while now, and the latest model runs continue to show it. A cold trough -PNA pattern is still forecast for the West Coast for about a week from around the 2nd-8th of March.

trough

We are hoping to combine the below-average temperatures...

cold air

...with above-average precipitation during the period...

wet pattern

...which could bring us one of the best weeks of the season for deep powder. The storms should be cold and windy and could bring quite a bit of snow if they dig slowly down the West Coast over the ocean. The first storm could arrive sometime on Friday the 2nd.

We'll continue to watch the trends for this potentially cold and active period to start March out on the right note. The pattern could start to shift during the 2nd week of March.

Stay tuned...BA

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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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