PM Update:

I think the animals know that the storms are coming because I have not seen them foraging much the last few days, but I’m not sure about the people. 11,000 of you have tuned in the last few days but most of that is from San Fran and Sac so I may be boosting pass sales more than preparing locals. About 7% of the Tahoe Basin has tuned in and that was apparent today as I was out and about with the family.

I took the kids over to Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach for new snow boots. Dave has some great stuff in there so stop by, and he was stocking the shelves in preparation for the coming snow. But I was the only one in there buying snow boots as the beach across the street was packed full of people. I didn’t see any snow tires either even though they are technically illegal with studs until the 1st, but crashing your car may cost more than the fine.

I heard a few people talking about the snow coming but most were saying they didn’t think it would be much or stick. Meanwhile, I went home and had a cord of firewood delivered and spent the afternoon stacking it. I did have one neighbor out doing the same but he remembers October of 04 and 92 when a couple of feet fell in Tahoe Donner.

Of course I’m expecting 1-2 feet here at my house at 6750 in TD. In Truckee and at lake level it will be hard to accumulate during the day but should do well at Night Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night and could total up to a foot or more combined, minus any daytime melting. Not a big deal really for seasoned Tahonians but without snow tires and with your wood sitting out in the yard it could be. If you live above 6500 ft. it does look like you have a foot or two coming Mon-Wed.

The forecast models have not changed much this afternoon and have actually become kind of boring to look at as they are the same run after run. That keeps forecast confidence high though. The models do a agree a little more now that snow levels stay below lake level through Wednesday with several wave rotating through our area through Wed night. Not sure what kind of reports we’ll be able to get from the resorts up top but I would expect someone to hit 3 feet above 8,000 feet by Thursday morning.

These types of systems tend to produce more when they get here than the models show so this could get fun. More in the morning…BA

From This Morning:

A storm this big and cold for this time of year has caught me off guard as well.  I was not planning on spending this weekend winterizing the cars and the house.  This is not a big storm coming by Winter standards but would still be a decent storm and this will be a prolonged event, not just a quick hit and go.

You can see the low pressure spinning down the coast to the right on the satellite, and the jetstream streaking in underneath.  The popcorn looking clouds around the low are a sign of how cold the air is associated with it, and the jet streaming in from across the Pacific means we will get a good moisture feed into the Sierra.  It’s the perfect combination of cold and moisture we would look for in Winter, it’s too bad the resorts aren’t open yet.

Looking at the latest forecast models this morning there is good agreement through Tuesday.  The GFS and Euro have almost completely flipped to what the other was showing yesterday for the second half of the week.  We could see the snow start to fall as early as Sunday night up along the Western crest, over Donner Summit, and up in Tahoe Donner.  By Monday morning the snow should push into the Basin and becoming heaviest in the afternoon and evening continuing overnight.

By Tuesday morning we should see up to 6 inches at lake level and up to a foot above 7000 ft. with more possible along the crest.  There is a Winter Storm Watch out by the NWS for this period and they are forecasting similar amounts.  This should change to a Winter Storm Warning tomorrow.  That’s not the end of the storm however as the low is forecasted to sit off the Pacific NW coast most of the week and rotate in several more waves.

We should see the coldest temps on Tuesday with continued snow showers as more waves of moisture rotate in off of the Pacific.  We should see several more inches by Wednesday morning.  The GFS wants to keep the snow showers going through Wednesday with totals of up to a foot of snow or more at lake level by Wednesday night, and up to 2 feet or more above 7000 ft especially along the crest.  The GFS has the support of some other models with this solution keeping the temps cold and snow showers going through Wednesday.

The Euro retrogrades the low off the Pacific NW coast on Wednesday completely cutting off the precip and bringing in some warmer air.  It then comes inland Thursday into Friday with another round of heavier precip but with high snow levels, so the rain would start to wash away the snow.  This scenario has less support but is similar to what the GFS was showing yesterday.

Here is the the total liquid forecast off the latest run of the GFS for the upcoming week.  You can see 1-2 inches of liquid for the basin which could be 1-2 feet of snow above 7000 ft., but at lake level warm ground temps to start and temps above freezing during the day will lower snow ratios and keep amounts lower.  2-3 inches of liquid along the crest could mean 2-3 feet up there by Thursday.  These liquid maps are more accurate for predicting snow than the actual snowfall maps.

The snowfall forecast maps are more fun to look at though so here is the GFS snowfall forecast for the week in inches.

Of course if the European models scenario were to verify we would see slightly less snow and then a rain storm on Thursday so we will have to watch the trend on that over the next few days. Looking at week 2 the trend is for the ridge to build back in off the coast but to remain weak and a bit further South. That would allow the stormy weather to continue through week 2 for Northern CA as well, instead of just the Pacific NW. We would most likely see snow levels go up and down with the storms so rain and snow through the period. Overall the possibility is there that the active weather pattern continues. This is a dramatic change from the Summer pattern.

Stay tuned for updates, fine tuning, and any changes to the forecast. Also, make sure you fill the washer fluid, put the snowscraper in the car, carry chains if you are from out of town, and maybe put the snow tires on this weekend if you live in the higher terrain….BA

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