Tahoe Weather Geek
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.
Monday Oct. 27
Today will be another brisk one in the Tahoe Basin as an area of high pressure building over Nevada and Utah pushes some cold, northern air into our region. Then, we might see some clouds Tuesday and Wednesday as a storm moves through the Pacific Northwest and into far Northern California. But the real potential for weather will be this coming weekend.
The early forecast models are showing a fairly strong early season storm on the horizon, aiming for a Friday or Saturday arrival.
This storm won’t be tapping into a significant amount of Pacific moisture but seems likely to approach the Sierra at an angle that will allow it to ring the maximum amount of precipitation possible out of what it has to work with. Snow levels will start out around or above 7000 feet Friday but drop as the system moves through, possible down to below 6000 feet. The higher elevations could see as much as a foot of snow Friday and Saturday.
The one major caveat is that the forecasts are showing the storm splitting as it reaches California. We’ll have to watch that development as it could send more of the system’s energy south of Tahoe.
Saturday Oct. 25
An early season Pacific storm is moving into Northern California this morning and will bring rain and snow to the Sierra later today.
About a half an inch of rain is likely in the Tahoe Basin through Sunday morning, with snow levels dropping to 7000 feet or a little lower overnight. Snow could fall as low as 6000 feet north of Tahoe. High winds will accompany the storm with gusts around the Lake as high as 50 mph. A lake wind advisory is in effect.
By the time rain turns to snow in the Tahoe region tonight most of the precipitation will have moved east, but we still could see up to four inches of snow over the mountain passes by Sunday morning. Snow amounts will be higher north of Tahoe and at higher elevations, with Mt. Lassen getting as much as 10 inches.
A few scattered showers are possible Sunday morning behind the main axis of the trough as it swings through the Sierra, but those will diminish during the day.
A period of clear and warmer weather will follow early in the week as the storm track shifts back to the Pacific Northwest.
Another storm is possible in Tahoe by next weekend.