Update 12 p.m.
The cold front is pushing through the basin and there is a sharp cutoff to the heavy precip behind the front. Lighter more scattered snow showers this afternoon behind the front, and temps and snow levels could pop back up a little with the heavy precip no longer dragging down the coldest air.
Here are some pics from readers this morning. The first is a shot of the Truckee river at flood stage as the rain turned to snow. (Courtesy of Scott Kennedy)
Then 2 pics from 6900 ft. in Tahoe Donner where high winds and heavy rain turned to snow around 8:45 and this is how much snow fell by 11:45. (Courtesy of Ryan Willams)
Here is a shot of South Lake around 11 a.m. just after the rain changed to snow. (Courtesy of Lani Pollak)
and an updated pic from out front here where we ended up with 4 inches.
Update 11 a.m.
3 inches of snow and counting here at 6750. Starting snowing and sticking all the way down to 5700 ft. around Truckee around 10:30. South Lake running about 30 min. behind as the front pushes South. Temps dropped about 8 degrees to 33. This may have prevented the major flooding on the Truckee as the snow melt should be slowing now. Thanks for all the reports coming in.
Update 9 a.m.
Snowing outside now at 6700 ft. and accumulating. Send in your observations. NWS just issued a Winter Storm Warning to lake level. Cold air is winning the race!
From 7 a.m.
Not too long after the snow levels dropped below 7000 ft. around 9 pm last night they shot up to 9000 ft. by 3 a.m. and have been falling since then and are near 8000 ft. and falling. Very strong winds and the heaviest precip of the week are pushing in this morning. The race is on to get the snow levels down while the heavy precip is still falling.
The resorts that measured before the rain washed away the snow from yesterday are reporting 1-5 inches up top. I have been reporting the snow amounts at the summits which have been a lot, but I know it has been raining at the bases all week. I am as bummed as you all but tying to keep it positive and focus on where it is snowing.
Today the rain will continue to turn to snow from the top down and should be down near lake level by this evening. Above 8000 ft. we should see another 1-2 feet today and up to a foot down to 7000 ft., with several inches possible just below that. Then the precip will taper off tonight and the temps will drop below freezing icing things up.
These storms seem like they could have actually been much warmer. People refer to pineapple express but the jetstream feeding these storms is not coming from Hawaii but across the warm pool of water North of Hawaii. The water around Hawaii is colder than average. The water in the Northeast Pacfic where the main lows are sitting is cold as well and these lows have plenty of cold with them. The snow levels up until last night were hovering in the 7000-7500 ft. range most of the week sometimes lower and are dropping again today. So these storms could have been all rain to the summits all week if this were a true pineapple express. That warm water off the coast of CA was not there the past couple of Winters.
Also, the water year started in October and we finished the first month with 119% of average precip. November was another wet month and here we are starting December quite wet so the water year is off to a good start. We are expecting below average precip in the core Winter months so this is good.
After a break Monday and Tuesday the models are a little more bullish on the next warm system for Tuesday night into Wednesday. The snow levels will be between 7000-8000 ft. with several inches possible above that.
Next weekend the European says that the ridge off the coast builds in and stays until the middle of next week. Then has it retrograding allowing a cold trough to dig down the coast with light snowfall. The GFS keeps the ridge off the coast for the long-term with a cold trough digging into the West next weekend bringing us colder but dry conditions.
Looking at the teleconnections we may be heading towards a +PNA pattern which would mean more ridging for the West Coast. The forecast for December is a warmer than average month for the West. The CFS long-range forecast does have precip returning for the second half of the month but with the cold air remaining in the East. Could mean more storms like we have been seeing this week. BA
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