March ReCap/April Preview….
This March has been called a “Miracle March by many. It was only a miracle because of how dismal the rest of the season was. In a normal year it would only be considered a good month. Last year we had a lot more snow than we did this March. We are in much better shape than we were a month a ago but we needed an insane March to make a big dent in the deficit from earlier in the season.
Using Squaw as an example they had only picked up 142 inches all season before March. In the month of March they picked up 167 inches, more than doubling the season total. That scenario was repeated at every resort around the lake. But last March Squaw picked up 241 inches.
If we had picked up the numbers we did in March every month this season we would be pushing another 800 inch season. Currently there are only 4 resorts with over 300 inches so far this season. Averaged together the resorts are sitting at around 66% of the average annual snowfall. Officially from the snow lab on Donner Summit we are at 70% of average snowfall.
Looking at the snowpack we are in better shape than a month ago when were sitting at around 30% of the April 1st average. Here is the April 1st chart for the Northern and Central Sierra. North goes as far South as Truckee and Central includes Tahoe. The Northern Sierra has a 79% of average snowpack and Central 51%. Tahoe would be in the middle around 63%, it usually is pretty close percentage wise to the resort’s season to date snowfall.
As far as total liquid precipitation both the Truckee River and Tahoe basins picked up 150% of average precip in March. That brings us up to 65% and 64% respectively so far for the water year which started on October 1st.
The month was slightly below average temperature wise using the Truckee Airport reporting station numbers. We averaged .6 degrees below average for the month with a high of 61 and low of 0.
So what about April? Well we started the month with 1-2 feet of snow reported Sunday from the last storm. We have a strong cold front coming in tonight with high winds and not much snowfall. We could see 1-3 inches of snow on the mountains and much colder temperatures.
Highs have been in the 50′s the past 2 days which melted the new snow pretty quick at lake level. If you busted out the t-shirt for skiing you’ll need the jacket again as we will have highs only in the 30′s the next few days at the base of the mountains and only in the 20′s up top. The best chances for accumulating snow will be tonight and then maybe another inch or two Thursday night. I would be surprised if a resort hits 6 inches by Friday up top, so this will be a pretty dry trough.
The weekend into early next week will be quiet as a cut-off low spins off the coast. The models disagree on what it does next week. The Euro brings it inland to our North Monday with the next system diving in further South into Tahoe Wednesday. The GFS keeps the low off the coast until Wednesday before bringing it inland over Tahoe. Either way the next chance for light snow looks to be the middle of next week.
Then it looks like we could see another system towards the end of next week. The storm later next week has the potential to bring a decent shot of snow so we have to keep an eye on that. Here is the precip forecast for the 11th – 19th showing that the forecast models show active weather the second half of next week.
Looking at the long-range pattern the MJO could loop into the Indian Ocean and the PNA forecast is towards negative by mid-month. That would suggest the storm door stays open but it’s April and the jet stream is weakening and retracting North. We could see some more unsettled weather and cut-off lows later in the month.
The last two seasons stayed active through April and into May. Last season was a fading La Nina with a cold PDO and cold water off the coast like this season so we’ll see if Winter tries to hang on again. It would be ironic after there was no Winter in the heart of the Winter season. Last year Squaw reported 21 inches the first week of June! I’m not saying that’s going to happen but we could still have some weather to discuss the next two months
My other blogs will all be ending this month but I keep posting on here right through the Summer as we start to look at next season after this one ends. Shorter post tomorrow since this one was long-winded, and any totals from the light snow tonight….BA
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