Tahoe Daily Snow

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By Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago March 1, 2024

The Storm Continues...

Summary

Snow Friday becoming heavy Friday night. Snow continues Saturday and snow showers Sunday. The next storm brings more snow Monday - Wednesday. We could see a break later next week, with another storm possible around the 10th-11th.

Short Term Forecast

All systems are go as the warmer part of the storm got started on Thursday, and the storm will get colder and will really ramp up Friday night, with snow through Sunday. So far the ski areas are reporting 10-20 inches of snow as of 5-7 AM on Friday.

reports 2

As usual, the glass-half-empty crowd was expecting the entire snowfall forecast to fall in less than a day instead of over the full 4 days through Sunday night. I even try to help with notes in my forecast, but it doesn't seem to work for some.

note

Taking Sugar Bowl as an example, they have 20 inches of snow so far. You'll see below that my forecast for additional snowfall for them is 70-95 inches by Monday morning. That would give them 90-115 inches in total if it verifies, which means they are actually a few inches ahead of the curve as my final forecast was for 88-111 inches by Monday morning.

Friday - Sunday Storm:

Looking at the satellite images this morning, we can see the front and jet streak still draped over central CA. That will keep the snow showers going. But the colder moist air with the popcorn-shaped clouds will arrive Friday night into Saturday and that is when the mountain orographics will really fire up and snow ratios will increase with the snow piling up faster.

satellite

We have ridgetop winds gusting up to 100+ mph on Friday. Highs into the low 30s near lake level and 20s for the upper mountains. Then highs only in the 20s for the lower elevations and teens for the peaks Saturday - Sunday. The latest model runs keep the winds gusting up to 70-80+ mph from the WSW through Saturday afternoon, and up to 60-70+ through Sunday.

That means we may not get some upper mountain lifts open at all this weekend. Some ski areas are closed for the day on Friday. The more protected mountains could get some lifts going on Saturday and Sunday. The snow intensity comes down a little on Saturday but convective snow showers still falling with some heavier bands, and snow showers for Sunday.

Additional Precipitation:

The latest model runs show an additional 4 - 7.5 inches of precipitation near the crest through Sunday night, and up to 4+ inches to the east side of the basin. The GFS model is still the wettest model. The model average is around 5.6 inches for additional totals through Sunday night.

precip

Additional Snowfall:

As I mentioned yesterday in the note re-posted above, the storm really gets going later Friday into Friday night. Not just heavier precipitation, but colder air and better mountain orographics, so the snow will start to pile up faster. 

Snow levels will actually rise a tiny bit by Friday afternoon ahead of the next surge of heavier precipitation, up to around 5000-5500 ft., and then falling overnight to around 2800-3300 ft. by early Saturday morning. Then staying near to below 3000 ft. until later Sunday when they could rise to around 4000 ft.

That means 10-15:1 snow ratios from lake level up to the peaks Friday, but increasing to 15-20:1 or better by Saturday morning. Powdery snow piles up faster but also drifts around more. Here is my forecast for additional snowfall through Sunday night.

snowfall 1

The Snow Continues:

The latest model runs have sped up the arrival of the next storm again. Snow showers could continue Monday but from the moisture from the next storm arriving as the weekend storm exits to the east. Then steadier snow is possible Monday night into Tuesday, and snow showers could linger into Wednesday.

monday storm

This may keep the gusty winds going with ridgetop gusts up to 60-70+ mph still on Monday, and 50-60+ mph Tuesday. That could continue to delay the opening of the very top of exposed mountains. Highs into the 30s for the lower elevations and 20s for the upper elevations.

The latest model runs show a large range of solutions currently for the Monday-Tuesday system as they don't agree on the timing and how much moisture the storm will have. The range for total precipitation near the crest is 0.1 - 1.6 inches, but the trend is wetter with the GFS & European models both showing the high-end. The model average for the two days this morning is around 0.9 inches near the crest.

Snow levels could start around 4000-4500 ft. and could rise to around 4500-5000 ft. Monday, dip near 3500-4000 ft. Monday night, rise to around 5500-6000 ft. Tuesday and drop below 5000 ft. Tuesday night. Here is my initial forecast for Monday through Tuesday night for snowfall.

snowfall 2

Extended Forecast

Snow showers could linger into Wednesday. Then high pressure is forecast to build in later in the week into Saturday the 9th. That could bring us a few drier days with some sun and slightly milder temperatures.

ridge 1

A final trough is still forecast to dig into the West Coast around the 10th-11th which could bring us a final cold storm.

cold trough

Fantasy Range:

The long-range models continue to show the patterns shifting as we get closer to mid-month, with the PNA pattern trending positive as the active phase of the MJO moves farther east out of the favorable phases for the cold and snow pattern we're seeing currently. 

We could see high-pressure build in near the West Coast with a more prolonged drier pattern possible through mid-month. But if we are on the east side of the ridge we likely won't get overall warm.

ridge

We'll continue to watch the trends in the long range and will continue to tally up the snowfall totals in the short range.

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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