Big story today besides the impending blizzard will be the winds. I don’t normally talk too much about the winds with a storm, but conditions with this storm are favorable to drag the high ridgetop winds down to the surface of the valleys and the lake. As with a lot of big storms, winds on the ridge will be 100 mph with higher gusts. With this storm we could see winds close to hurricane force down to lake level which would be around 75 mph. The high winds will also last a while beginning this afternoon and lasting into Tuesday. Combine that with the heavy snow and we will have an all out blizzard. I don’t recommend trying to cross Donner Summit on Tuesday.

Snow levels are high today around 8000 ft. As the precip starts tonight the snow levels will fall to 7000 ft. That means snow on the mountains, but a steady rain at lake level to start the storm. As the cold front moves through Tuesday morning the snow level will fall well below lake level. The heaviest snow will fall Tuesday and Tuesday night, but with a cold moist flow behind the front snow showers will continue through Wednesday. Snow ratios Tuesday night will be high with the cold air which will turn the snow powdery and up the totals. This morning’s models are showing between 2-3 inches of liquid over Tahoe by Wednesday night. That will mean over 2 feet of snow above 7000 ft. with 3 feet of snow along the crest. At lake level it will be a bit trickier with the initial start as rain, but I still think we could see at least a foot at lake level once it changes to snow.

Next wave of moisture for Thursday looks like it will dive South down the coast, so we will begin to dry out on Thursday and Friday, but it will stay cold. Friday night another weak storm rolls through bringing only a few inches into Saturday.

On Sunday things get interesting again. Another slow moving cold front approaches similar to Tuesday’s storm. Question is whether it will split or not. Either way we look to get snow Sunday into Monday, but if it holds together we could be looking at another couple of feet on the mountains. All said, by Monday night we may have seen 4-5 feet of snow on the mountains over the course of the week. This will help most resorts get close to or break their average annual snowfall.

Looking beyond, it looks like a break in the action next week after Monday with a ridge building in. The ridge will be progressive though and will move East by the following weekend allowing another storm to move in. The storminess looks to continue into the middle of April, especially if the MJO continues on the path it is on. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this winter may try to hang on right till the end. BA

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