The resorts added another 5-11 inches to their totals since yesterday’s reports from the heavy snow yesterday morning. The conditions for mid-March are incredible out there with 2-3 feet of fresh snow from the latest storm on the mountains and 3-5 feet in the past week. The cold temperatures and clear skies overnight should have sucked some of the moisture out of the snow as well.
All the resorts on the West side of the lake are now between 500-600 inches on the season which is around 124% of the annual average. My analog year for this season was 73-74 which was one of the last 4 strong La Nina winters. That season we had 500 inches on Donner Summit. The only time we had more than that in a Strong La Nina year was 1955-56 with 600 inches. We have now surpassed 500 inches and we are working towards 600 inches.
This makes 4 out of the last 5 La Ninas(80%) that were this strong during the winter and gave us above average snowfall. Remember that for the future so you can argue the below average snowfall in a La Nina year myth. The last season that brought us 600 inches was 94-95. With the storms lined up over the next 10 days we are going to continue to push towards that number. We are still not going to be anywhere close to the record year of 1937-38 with over 800 inches. Can you imagine back then with the snow removal equipment they had?
We are not done yet…… We have a break today before the next storm is ready to dive in tomorrow. This storm will be a much colder storm with a drier snow and all snow at lake level. The snow showers could start on the crest as early as tonight. The main storm and heavier snow pushes into the Tahoe basin around noon tomorrow. The heavy snow should last into the evening. With the cold air with this storm and moist flow behind the front I would expect snowshowers to last into Saturday. Total liquid by Saturday is 1-1.25 inches. That is less than the last storm but with colder temps and higher snow ratios we will do pretty good. Looking for 10-15 inches at lake level, with 15-20 inches above 7000 ft, and 20-25+ inches on the crest by Saturday.
The main upper low responsible for spinning the storm in on Friday will move down the coast slowly over the weekend. This will keep snow showers going Saturday and Sunday especially along the crest. At lake level during the day I am not expecting much accumulation with the strong March sun but several more inches are possible above 7000 ft. Then the main low pushes in Sunday afternoon into Monday bringing another round of heavier snow. The models have this coming in further North now so this could bring the same amount of snow as the Friday storm with model liquid amounts about the same. The snow showers could linger into Monday night. By Tuesday morning we should have 4 day totals of around 2 feet at lake level and 3-4 feet on the mountains with possibly more on the crest.
If you thought that was the end you are wrong again, and you are probably one of the people who though we were done after the big February storm. A break Tuesday and Wednesday before the next cold storm dives down from the Gulf of Alaska. This storm is being shown by most models as slowing as it approaches and then slowly push inland Thursday-Saturday next week. Looking at snow totals this far out is sketchy but models have enough liquid to bring around 2-3 feet.
With the ridge sitting out in the Central Pacific over the next 2 weeks we will continue to have a trough along the West coast with fairly cold storms diving in and below average temps. With the March sun we could be in the 40′s in between storms especially at lake level but that is below average for this time of year. Long-range models keep the storms coming going towards the end of the month. Looking at teleconnections they look more favorable for storms as we go out 2 weeks. MJO is also circling around and strengthening so we could have one more blast of big storms in the beginning of April. Stay tuned……BA
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