Tahoe Weather Geek
Friday Nov. 21
The third in a series of early season storms is due to hit the Sierra late tonight through Saturday. While this one will be the strongest of the three, it does not look like a major snow producer.
Rain and high elevation snow should begin late Friday and continue into Saturday, with snow levels around 8000 feet. Around half a foot is possible above 8000 feet, with not much below that. Snow levels should drop Saturday afternoon behind the cold front but by then most of the moisture will have moved east. We may not even see the dusting we were hoping for around the Lake. The biggest issue with this system will be the wind, with gusts of greater that 50 mph likely.
Sunday will be chilly and breezy in the wake of the storm before a warming trend that should last several days takes hold.
Thursday Nov. 20
The second of three fast-moving storm systems taking aim at Tahoe this week is moving into Northern California this morning and should reach the Sierra by this afternoon. This one will be a bit stronger than Wednesday’s system, and likely with slightly lower snow levels. The storm is forecast to leave about 3 or 4 inches of new snow above 7000 feet with a dusting possible around the Lake late today or tonight. Rain and snow should taper to showers tonight, and Friday will be mostly cloudy as we get a break between storms.
The third storm in this trio is due to arrive Friday night into Saturday. This system, while not much larger than the first two, will be better aligned in the kind of west-to-east trajectory that wrings more moisture out of a system as it crashes into the Sierra. But the focus of the storm will be near the California-Oregon border, which means Tahoe will sit on the warmer, southern boundary of the system. These two factors will likely combine to bring more precipitation but also higher snow levels than the first two storms in this series. The forecast is looking like an inch to 1.5 inches of rain, with snow levels fluctuating between 7000 and 8000 feet, with some snow possible below 7000 feet. Above 8000 feet we could still see significant accumulations of between 6 and 12 inches by Saturday night.
Sunday should be fair as the high pressure rebuilds for at least a few days.
The forecast models are in serious conflict at the moment for Thanksgiving Weekend, with more storms possible but far from dialed in as of now. Stay tuned for more details are they emerge.
Thursday Nov. 19
The first of three storms systems on track to sweep through the Sierra this week is moving through the Tahoe Basin today, bringing light rain and high elevation snow to the region.
The second system is already taking shape in the Pacific and moving south, and by Thursday afternoon it should bring more rain and snow to Tahoe. While the dynamics of this system are more favorable for heavier precipitation, the storm will still not likely be a big snow producer. It looks like Tahoe will see 3 to 4 inches above 7000 feet with a dusting to a light coating of snow down to 6000 feet or snow as the storm exits late Thursday.
The third storm will be the biggest, but it will probably also be warmer, with snow levels rising again to as high as 8000 feet. Rain and snow should arrive by Friday night and carry over into Saturday. Warm air pushed aloft ahead of the storm will keep snow levels high, but they could fluctuate between 6ooo and 8000 feet. Where there is snow, the snow to water ratio will be low — about 8 to 1 — meaning we will likely see a heavy, wet slush at least up to about 8000 feet. That’s what the resorts always say they want — a sticky layer to start building their base. They should get that, with somewhere between 6 and 12 inches of Sierra cement possibly by Saturday night.
Winds are expected to pick up as the storm exits, with gusts Saturday of 5o to 60 mph around the region.
Sunday should be clearing as high pressure begins to rebuild around the west.
Stay tuned for more details as they emerge.
Tuesday Nov. 18
A series of storms lining up in the Northern Pacific are poised to bring rain and snow to the Tahoe region this week, but none of them appear to be the big, season-opening kind of storm snow watchers might be looking for.
The first is due by midday Wednesday and figures to bring light rain and high-elevation snow to the Sierra. The storms will break apart as it runs into the ridge of high pressure and the precipitation forecast is for less than a quarter-inch of rain, with snow levels around 7000 feet. The impacts are likely to be minor.
A colder, slightly more powerful storm is on track to arrive by Thursday afternoon. This fast-moving system should bring snow levels below 6000 feet, with 2 to 4 inches possible around Donner and Echo summits.
The third storm in the series looks to be the strongest from today’s vantage point. It should arrive late Friday and last into Saturday. A more favorable orientation of the jet stream would bring this system across the Sierra at an angle that would push precipitation totals up. Snow levels are expected to start out high, around 8000 feet on Friday, before dropping to close to 6000 feet on Saturday. Several inches of snow are possible by Saturday night.
Chilly temperatures and high winds with gusts around 50 mph are likely in the wake of the storm but skies should be clearing Sunday as the high pressure rebuilds for at least a couple of days.