Tahoe Weather Geek
Oct. 31 2014
The first real winter-like storm of the season is bearing down on California this morning and promises to bring rain and snow to Tahoe by tonight.
The system should reach the Sierra by late this afternoon, with snow levels initially forecast to be above 7000 feet as a southerly orientation of the oncoming moisture keeps things warm for a bit.
But as the cold front moves over the Sierra around sunset things should begin to change, and a more westerly orientation to the system at that point will also add to the potential for heavier snowfall. Rain will likely turn to snow down to 6000 feet overnight, and possibly down to 5000 feet by Saturday morning.
The timing of the switch will determine how much snow we get and where. It looks like 6 to 12 inches is reasonable above 7000 feet, with even more south of Tahoe toward Mammoth. Three to six inches of snow are possible around the Lake by Saturday afternoon. Snow showers should continue during the day Saturday, so final snow totals will depend on which areas are favored by the showers. The system will be moving east by late Saturday, leaving clearing skies but cold temperatures in its wake. Sunday looks to be dry but cold, with highs in the 40s.
Thursday Oct. 30
An early season storm is poised to move into Tahoe and the Northern Sierra Friday afternoon.
A low pressure system off the coast of California will slowly move inland on Friday, bringing rain and high elevation snow to the region.
The storm now looks like it will hold together as it arrives, but with a north-south orientation the best snowfall will still be near Mammoth, where the geography is more favorable for pulling snow out of this kind of system.
Even so, Tahoe’s peaks can expect to see between 6 and 12 inches of snow by Saturday night above 7000 feet, with at least a few inches around the Lake.
Rain and snow should start by late afternoon or early evening Friday, intensifying overnight with snow levels falling to between 5000 and 6000 feet by Saturday morning. Scattered snow showers are likely during the day Saturday as the system slowly moves east.
Although the front will likely be over Nevada by late Saturday, the forecast shows the possibility of a secondary, “inside slider” system moving in from the north on Sunday on the back side of the front. The current forecast shows the western edge of that system remaining east of the Sierra, and if does we will only see cloudy skies and colder than normal temperatures Sunday. But if that system slides a little more to the west, it could bring some additional snow showers to Tahoe on Sunday.
Either way, by Monday we should see the beginning of a warming trend.
Wednesday Oct 29
The first significant winter-style storm of the season is brewing in the Gulf of Alaska this week, poised to descend on the Sierra Nevada by Halloween night.
The deep low pressure system will begin moving our way Thursday, kicking up winds with gusts as high as 50 mph ahead of the front.
The storm’s timing has been slowed by a few hours and it is now looking like precipitation won’t reach the California interior until early Friday afternoon, with rain and high elevation snow beginning in Tahoe shortly after that. Snow levels look to start out around 7000 feet before dropping as the cold front sweeps in, and they could eventually fall as low as 5000 feet.
There is not a ton of moisture associated with this system but the dynamics — the trajectory it is likely to take over the mountains — look favorable for it to produce a decent amount of snow. It appears that the system will split apart as it approaches, with the best energy going south toward Mono County. Mammoth is likely to get more snow than Tahoe. But we still should see between 6 and 12 inches of snow above 7000 feet with at least a few inches around the Lake.
Snowfall should peak Friday night but, given the delay in the storm’s arrival, it looks like we will see snow shower activity for much of the day before the system finally moves east.
Sunday is likely to be unseasonably cold behind the front before things start to warm up again early next week.
Tuesday Oct. 28
A warm week in Tahoe and throughout the Sierra will lead into an unseasonably cold weekend with a good chance of rain and snow.
High pressure over the west should keep afternoon highs as much as 10 degrees above normal in the Tahoe Basin through Thursday.
By Thursday afternoon the winds should be picking up in advance of this storm system, and rain and high elevation snow is expected to reach interior California by Friday morning. Current forecast models show the system pushing into the Sierra by midday Friday.
Snow levels will likely start out above 7000 feet before dropping late Friday and Friday night to below 6000 feet. It’s looking like we could see close to a foot of snow above 7000 with a few inches possible around the Lake by Saturday morning. The heaviest snow will be late Friday but snow showers will likely continue behind the front Saturday morning.
Sunday should be dry as the system moves east but high temperatures will still be on the chilly side, in the low 40s around the Lake.
Stay tuned for more details.