Numbers 430, 214, & 552
This is post 430 since I started this blog a little over 2 years ago, and today I hit over 214,000 pageviews in the last 30 days. It still amazes me because I just started this blog for my friends and co-workers so that they didn’t have to ask me about the weather all of the time, and there is no advertising. I just keep typing out my obsession with snow and knowing when it will come. I may continue for a long time whether anyone cares to read or not.
I think a lot of you have been checking the site for updates more than once a day as the storms get closer. My wife and I had a baby last Winter and with 2 kids now I usually wait until they are in bed to post. I am looking at the various model runs throughout the day from the time I wake up and putting together ideas for the evening post. So let’s see what is going on with today’s model runs.
A general consensus today was that the core of the jet stream will be aimed a bit further North to start on Wednesday and Thursday. The slightest shift North or South with this moisture stream will make a big difference for our precip amounts. But like a lot of things in life you have to take a step back and look at the big picture. If you are staring at the little speck on the map that is Tahoe you are stressing over a jog North or South of the storms track of 100 miles. But step back and look at the globe and all the weather patterns and that is such a minor adjustment.
There is one model, the Japanese, that still has the Wednesday/Thursday system further South. All models show some precip on Wednesday and Thursday but right now it looks like several inches of snow above 7000 ft. not feet yet. The snow levels will be tricky because of the long fetch of Pacific moisture coming in lacking cold. This reminds me of last December’s pattern where we got a ton of snow above 7000 ft. The snow levels go up quickly just to our South so Mammoth could see 8,000 ft. snow levels while we see 7000, and then lower to our North.
If you are running the models yourself a quick way to get an idea of the snow levels is the 1000-500mb thickness. You’ll see the lines with the 500 numbers usually 540, 552, 558, etc. To have a good chance of snow at 6000 ft. we want to be above the 552 line, between 552 & 558 would be an approximate 7000 ft. snow level, and 558 would be around 8000 ft. There are other factors but that will get you pretty close.
Of note is that the NOGAPS model keeps the snow levels down to lake level. The Euro has them fluctuating around 7000 ft. and coming down later Thursday to lake level. The GFS this evening was colder keeping snow levels right near lake level with the heaviest precip on Thursday. All the models seem to keep snow totals under a foot for the first wave but there is plenty more behind that. Things look to keep getting better as we go into next weekend.
The timing varies with the models but the second wave should come in sometime on Friday. This storm looks colder with heavier precip. We may start with snow levels around lake level before falling. The snow would linger into Saturday and it’s way too early to talk totals but it looks like around a foot with this one right now. Then the third wave for this time next week looks like it could be the coldest and strongest of the bunch. If current models were to verify that one could be a 2-3 foot event.
Let’s run through the total precip from a few models for the Thursday-Sunday time frame. They are all very similar in the total precip of around 3-4 inches of liquid along the crest through the period. Above 7000 ft. where it is all snow that should be around 3-4 feet unless some colder air gets in and raises the ratios. Amounts East of the crest are 2-3 feet above 7000 and below that it depends on the fluctuation of the snow levels.
For week 2 things look to continue with more storms that could be colder and stronger than the ones this week. The ridge will be off the Southern CA coast this week helping in the warmer pattern. Towards next weekend it looks like the ridge could start to retrograde and setup further West out in the Pacific. This could make sense given if the PNA forecast verifies and it goes negative. Here is the week 1 (on top) and week 2 (bottom) precip outlooks from wxmaps.org.
If you are wondering what happened to the AO forecast going negative it could have stopped because the stratospheric warming has started cooling. We got this shot of cold coming tomorrow but not much cold around for the next 2 weeks, not that we need it for snow. The strat warm is forecasted however to come back stronger over the pole which could have implications and setup more blocking in February.
If the PNA goes negative as forecasted the trough could stick around for a while along the West coast. I would like to see the ridge setup out near 160w so we can get some big cold storms after some base building this week. The Euro hints at this for week 2. Stay tuned…….BA
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