Tahoe Weather Geek
Saturday Dec. 6
Another modest, warm storm is moving out of the Tahoe region this morning after some rain showers and high-elevation snow. Sunday should be mostly fair before the cloud cover returns as we get brushed by another warm system on Monday. That one looks even weaker, with snow levels again around 7000 feet. Maybe some drizzle and some flurries.
But everyone’s attention is already focused on later next week, when we’ve got the potential for the first major winter storm of the season.
After a couple of days of unseasonably warm weather, a strong low pressure system brewing in the Gulf of Alaska will make its way south and into Northern California.
The forecast models are still in a bit of conflict, but if this one holds together, we should be measure the snow in feet rather than inches for the first time this year — at least above 7500 feet. The current forecast calls for rain and snow to begin lat Wednesday night and continue into Friday, with snow levels falling during the day Thursday as the cold front moves through. They should eventually drop below 6000 feet. The question will be whether the snow levels will drop before most of the moisture moves east.
But as of now it certainly looks like a wet one. We could see more than five inches of rain in the foothills and up to the snow line.
Friday Dec. 5
At least two more modest, mild storms are in store for Tahoe while we hold out hope for a true winter storm late next week.
The next system is already on approach, moving through the Central Valley this morning and heading for the Sierra. It’s forecast to bring high winds, rain and snow to Tahoe and points north tonight through Saturday. Snow levels will hover around 7000 to 7500 feet, with accumulations probably around 6 inches or less. Rain is expected to taper to showers by Saturday afternoon.
After a lull on Sunday another, even warmer system is due late Sunday or Monday morning. Snow levels are looking like they will rise to nearly 8000 feet, but most of the precipitation will fall north of Tahoe.
A weak high pressure ridge will build over the west Tuesday and Wednesday but another, larger storm is on track to arrive Thursday. The early forecast models are in conflict, but if this system holds together it has the potential to be the best storm of the season so far. Snow levels will likely start out high — above 7000 feet — but drop to nearly 5000 feet as the cold front moves through, most likely Thursday.
We’ll be keeping our eye on this one as the week progresses.
Thursday Dec. 4
One more band of showers is moving through the Northern Sierra this morning as the low pressure system that brought rain and snow to the region for nearly a week departs to the east. Showers will be scattered and mainly along the crest, and with snow levels high, the impact should be minimal.
But the wet — and warm — pattern looks likely to continue into next week.
A modest system is forecast to brush past Tahoe Friday night and Saturday, bringing light rain and snow, with snow levels again above 7000 feet. That system should break up by Saturday afternoon.
Sunday is forecast to be dry, but another system will move through Washington and Oregon Monday, with its southern edge reaching almost to Tahoe. This could bring some more light rain with snow levels around 7500 feet.
After a short break as the ridge of high pressure briefly rebuilds, another, perhaps more powerful system is on track to reach the Sierra late next week.
Wednesday Dec. 3
A warm Pacific storm moving through the Sierra today will bring more heavy rain and high-elevation snow to the Tahoe region through tonight.
The core of a low pressure system that’s been generating our weather for the past week is now moving into the mountains. Heavy rain will continue this morning, tapering to showers this afternoon, with snow levels fluctuating between 7000 and 8000 feet.
Between 12 inches and 18 inches of new snow are possible above 8000 feet by Thursday morning. But while snow levels may dip below 7000 feet intermittently, accumulations are unlikely below the mountain passes.
Showers will continue into Thursday behind this system, then, after a brief break, another, much smaller system is expected to brush Tahoe Friday night into Saturday.