Posted the snow totals for the resorts. 3-8 inches being reported from yesterday. A coating was on the ground in Truckee and 2 inches in Tahoe Donner.
Lots of wind today ahead of the next approaching storm. The heavy precip will move in tonight an lasting through Friday, and lighter precip lasting into Saturday. The snow levels will be around 7000 ft. Friday and 7500 Saturday. Above 7000 ft. we could see 1-2 feet of snow with 2-3 feet above 8000 ft. West of the lake along the crest we could see 3-4 feet above 8000 ft.
Then Saturday night into Sunday the next storm arrives. The heaviest precip should fall Sunday morning through midday and then lighter precip into Sunday night before tapering off. The snow levels will come up to 8000 ft. Saturday night and then jump up fast to 9000-9500 ft. during the heaviest precip Sunday and then crash down as the precip lightens Sunday afternoon.
The GFS model this morning only has the snow levels coming back down to around 7000 ft. as the precip tapers off later Sunday. The European model still shows the snow levels dropping to lake level with enough precip left for several inches of snow. With 3-6 inches of liquid with this second storm there will be a lot of rain. Above 9000 feet a few more feet of heavy wet snow is possible. Below that the timing between rising and falling snow levels Sunday and the heaviest precip will make all the difference. We could see a foot or two above 8000 ft. and up to a foot above 7000 ft. depending on how it works out.
Here is the total liquid forecast from this morning’s GFS, still impressive amounts.
There are several methods for forecasting snow levels but with these warm storms with a lot of turbulence I like to use the freezing levels. With heavy precip and no wind you can see snow levels up to 2,000 ft. lower than the freezing levels especially if the air starts dry and cools as it moistens, but that will not be the case with these storms. High winds from the warm subtropical jetstream and a fully saturated atmosphere shouldn’t allow the snow levels to be more than around 500 ft. below the freezing level in the heaviest precip. When the precip is light the snow levels could be as high as the freezing level.
Here are the forecasted freezing levels for Friday showing between 7000-8000 ft. for the Tahoe basin and therefore a forecast of snow levels around 7000 ft.
Then on Sunday during the heaviest precip of the weekend the freezing levels are up around 10,000 ft. with snow levels in the 9000-9500 ft. range before falling.
There is a change in the forecast for the middle of next week as the model trend on most models is now to bring the next storm for Wednesday further South into Tahoe. This will be another warm storm with snow levels starting up around 8000 ft. and falling to 7000 ft. We could see several more inches of snow above 8000 ft.
Looking at the long-range the trend continues to point towards a colder pattern starting between days 10-14. The GFS keeps hinting at a cold pattern as early as the second weekend of December with cold storms and the European holds the cold pattern off a few days later until around the 12th. That is in the less predictable long-range, but a good sign as we need colder storms going toward mid-December so that the lower elevations can catch up to the higher elevations with snowfall.
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