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Showing posts from March, 2011

A Tale of Two High Pressure Systems

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As I talked about in my last two posts, high pressure is going to dominate our weather into the foreseeable future. Take a look at the weather map for Wednesday night:


High pressure off the California coast will be joined by another high pressure system. The two systems, which will form one bigger system, will actually shift slightly north and block any type of weather activity from Tahoe. In addition, warm and very mild air will accompany the blocking systems, pushing temps in the leeward valleys into the 70's by Thursday. As the storms come ashore well north of our area, we will get some wrap around affect, but that will be mostly wind and slightly cooler temps.

Return To Stormy Pattern?
That is the bad news, the good news is that this pattern should break down around the middle of April. Right now it looks like this could usher in another very stormy pattern. Currently the models are not picking up on this, however the NOAA PNA takes a very abrupt negative shift toward the middl…

Last Storm In Series Strengthens; Poised to Slam Tahoe Tomorrow

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The last storm for a while has strengthened and should slam into Tahoe very early tomorrow morning. Here is a look at the GFS forecast for 5am tomorrow morning:


Although this storm is the weakest of the bunch, look for 1-2 feet above 7,000 by tomorrow night.

Ridge City follows with mild temps and plenty of sunshine.

Squaw Valley has reported 220 inches of snow (19 feet) in the month of March and 55 feet for the season. I guess the next time people hear of La Nina, they will think snow.

Stay Tuned ...

Record Snows End Abruptly On Sunday

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In my last post I hinted that we may be moving out of the record breaking winter storm pattern that we have seen almost non-stop for a month. It now appears that an extremely strong ridge of high pressure is moving to our south and west. This ridge will dominate our weather, starting Sunday, for at least 10 days. It will usher in much warmer temperatures. Golf courses all over the valley should be open by Tuesday. Here is a look, notice the huge ridge off the coast of California, that ridge should keep the storms well north of us:


GFS has this ridge entrenched for at least 10 days with little or no movement.

Bottom line, enjoy the Pow this weekend as the storm cycle appears to be coming to an abrupt halt.

Stay Tuned ...

Get Ready For a One-Two Punch

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Two Storms, Back to Back
In my last post, I laid out storms and timing. I am happy to report that not much has changed. We have a smaller storm just now coming ashore in Northern California. On its heels, we have a much larger storm. The two storms are going to pack a strong one-two punch. Here is the 84 hour precip chart:


These two storms should drop around 3-5 inches of liquid precip in the Sierra. I am guessing very similar amounts in the Carson range. That should translate to about 3-6 feet of snow by Sunday. The heaviest band appears to be set for Thursday night and Friday, here is the GFS forecast for Thursday afternoon as the big storm approaches:



As of now it looks like the best days to hit the POW are still Thursday and Saturday. However these storms and a third storm are coming in so close, it could snow right through this weekend.

How Long Can This Last?
My friends at Unofficial Mt. Rose (See link on right of post) have labeled this the March Miracle. Quite appropriately if …

Correction

My apologies, but the 3rd and 4th image from the last post were the same. I have placed the correct 4th image on the post.

The winds are holding off for now and the storm is slamming us. The lifts are open, get up the mountain!

Storm Timing and Snow Amounts Through Next Weekend

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I am going to publish vital stats for the next 4 storms. These forecasts include the Sierra and Carson Range
Sunday/Monday/Tuesday Start - Sunday Morning
Peak: Very Early Monday Morning
Best Skiing/Riding: Monday
Amount: 2-4 feet - South getting more than north
Briefly: Storm moves in late Saturday night, initially hitting north of Tahoe. Picks up steam on Sunday and moves south early Monday morning.
Picture (Early Monday Morning):


Wednesday/Thursday 3/23-3/24 Start - Wednesday Afternoon
Peak: Thursday morning
Best Skiing/Riding: Thursday
Amount: 6-18 inches
Briefly: Weakest storm in the bunch, comes straight from the west. Gets pushed out by bigger storm on Friday.

Picture (Wednesday Afternoon):


Thursday/Friday/Saturday 3/24-3/26
Start - Thursday Night
Peak: Friday afternoon
Best Skiing/Riding: Saturday
Amount: 2-5 feet
Briefly: Strong storm coming in from north, long wave pummels Tahoe for 3 days.
Friday.
Picture (Friday Night):

Sunday/Monday 3/27-3/28
Start - Sunday morning
Peak: Late Sunday Night
Best S…

It's Going To Snow For A Week

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The next storm in our series is knocking at the door and should produce 12-30 inches of snow for Rose. I would not be surprised if we were at the upper end of that. Let's take a look at the 84 hour moisture chart:




This chart represents liquid precip from two storms that are going to slam our area and most of California. Incidentally this does include the leeward valleys of the Sierra and I would not be surprised if NWS issues a Winter Storm Warning for Reno and Carson. If you live in the foothills, expect heavy snow, perhaps as much as a foot by Tuesday.

Now back to the above chart. Mammoth and the Central Sierra are going to get nearly 8-10 inches of liquid precip from these next two storms. That is over 100 inches of snow. Kirkwood is clearly in the 6-8 inch range, while the Tahoe Crest is in the 4-6 inch range. The Western Tahoe Crest should pick up 6-10 feet of snow by Tuesday morning. The chart above has slide mountain in the 2-3 inch range (liquid precip). However, I just th…

Round Three Will Be Much Colder

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The timing for our next storm will remain Friday afternoon and evening. This storm will have much colder air to work with, but not nearly as much moisture. Having said that, I look for the Sierra Crest to pick up 1-2 feet of snow. The snow to water ratio will be much higher, in the 15-1 or even 20-1 ratio. For you Slide Mtn enthusiasts, I am looking for 6-18 inches by Saturday morning. This event may only last for a few hours and a blocking wind is in place. There will be some spillover to the valley and it will be all snow. Perhaps an inch or two (in the valley).

Here is the GFS forecast for late Friday afternoon.


I should mention that EC has this storm coming in about 8 hours later than GFS, but the conventional wisdom is that GFS is right on this one. Either way, Saturday morning should be epic with plenty of champagne powder.

I want to talk about two other storms. The first is slated for late Sunday into Monday. These storms are born in the south and will have a more direct hit on …

Round Two On The Doorstep

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The next storm is knocking on the door. This is a larger, warmer storm that will bring rain to the valley. It will also bring heavy snow to the Sierra, especially along the crest. Current forecasts show 2-4 inches of liquid precip. That will translate to around 2-5 feet of snow, depending on when the cold air arrives. Although Slide Mountain routinely does not get the full brunt of the storm, it should be in the track and 18-36 inches looks like a sure bet. All this by late tomorrow night. NWS is saying the winds will not be as strong either, that could keep the lifts spinning at the resorts around Tahoe all day tomorrow. Here is what EC is forecasting for late tonight and early tomorrow morning. Notice that all of Tahoe is right in the bulls eye:


Now take a look at GFS for this evening as the storm approaches:


The one downside that I am seeing is this storm is bringing in some seriously warm air. It looks like snow levels could rise to 8,000 feet  as the warm air is sucked in from th…

Slide Mountain Over 400 Inches of Snow After Last Nights Storm

Last Night
Last nights storm came in pretty much as predicted and moved the snow total on Slide Mountain to 407 inches and counting. The party is over for now, but starts up again tomorrow afternoon. If this thing comes in just right we can look for 18-36 inches of additional accumulation in the upper elevations of the Sierra and Carson Range by Wednesday night. As I said yesterday, this is a warmer system and will probably be mostly rain below 7,500 feet. Of course the base at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is over 8,000 feet and therefore this should be all snow. NWS is calling for rising water levels on creeks and streams but does not fear any wide spread flooding as of now.

This Week
The models are now somewhat in agreement that there will be nearly non-stop mountain snow, which will at times be heavy starting tomorrow night and lasting into the foreseeable future. A series of storms are stacked up and will move on shore just north of California. However the long wave affect of these storms wi…

First of Four Storms Arrives Today

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Slide Mountain has had just shy of 400 inches of snow this year. I believe there is a significant chance that they could top 500 within the next couple of weeks. A series of strong to moderate storms is approaching the area which will bring winter back for what could be two weeks, or longer. Let's start with the 3 storms coming this week:

Tonight through Tomorrow:
This is the weakest of the storms but should still pack a pretty decent punch as there is plenty of associated moisture. Expect 1-2 feet at the higher elevations and 3-6 inches at lake level. Here is the GFS look for early tomorrow morning. This will not affect the leeward valleys with anything but very strong winds:


Tuesday Night Through Wednesday
This is a much stronger storm and has been well advertised. The models are in a agreement with this storm and it should bring significant snow above 7,500 feet in the  Sierra around Tahoe.This storm starts out warm and the NWS service is worried about heavy rain falling on the s…

Storm Track Moves South, Expect a Stormy Week

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A series of storms will move north of the area but will affect our weather and dump snow in the mountains. Right now the EC weather model has 3 separate storms coming in for next week starting on Monday and lasting at least through next Sunday with very few breaks. Each of these storms moves progressively further south and EC is forecast the following for next weekend:


This is a pretty big storm for mid-March and it is tracking south, right through central California. EC is the most aggressive of the weather models for this forecast but all models are pointing toward a very stormy week. GFS has the party starting late Sunday night and shows mountain snow for the next 5 days with virtually no break.

Our ridge to the south has not moved further south, but broken down completely and is reforming to our north which oftentimes means these types of stormy periods.

La Nina generally means an early spring. Somebody forgot to tell that to God! Spring will come in like a lion. This pattern appea…

We Are On The Edge Of The Storm Track

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Here is our current condition:


Blocking High Pressure has set up to our south and west. This causes the storms to track north of Tahoe. Currently the models have that blocking high moving slightly south, which puts us right on the edge of the storm track. If it moves a little further south than expected, we can expect another storm cycle to start up next week. If it remains or moves only slightly south, we can expect just glancing blows that bring us wind but very little if any precip, which is that typical Sierra spring pattern I talked about last post.

Mountain Snows Next Week
Both GFS and EC have a series of storms that will move north of us, but not too far north where we only get the glancing blow. Here is a look at next Monday's forecast by the GFS weather model. Notice the storm is to the north, but the moisture is able to penetrate the outer rings of the high pressure system:


This makes forecasting weather very inaccurate at best. Suffice it to say, however, storms are in t…

Prepare For Sierra Spring Conditions

The last storm in the cycle has now moved through the area dropping close to a foot of snow on Slide Mountain and leaving slightly more west of the crest. This is exactly what we expected as the models nailed another one. As the backside of this storm drops down the cold front, winds will continue, however by Tuesday afternoon a ridge of high pressure will move into the area bringing sunny skies and much warmer temps. Expect 60's by Wednesday.

Looking forward, there will be a series of glancing blows of systems that are being pushed to our north. Those glancing blows will bring wind and little if any precip. Most will drop the temps 5-10 degrees and bring windy conditions for a short period of time before they recover ahead of the next system. This is typical of spring in the Sierra. Most valley snow is already gone and the foothills will continue their melt through the weekend. That means expect golf courses to start opening up again, which of course means ski in the morning, gol…

Quick Update

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Sunday/Monday Storm
Not much has changed since yesterday's post for the storm coming Sunday and Monday. Both EC and GFS have this thing coming in Sunday afternoon and lasting through Monday, with the bulk of the precip very early Monday morning. Both models have downgraded the amount of precip associated with this storm to around .5 to 1 inch of liquid precip for Slide Mountain and double that for west of the Sierra Crest. The NAM model is talking about 1 inch for the Carson range which is the most optimistic of the forecasts. Therefore, unless something changes drastically, expect 3-12 inches of snow at Slide Mountain by Monday morning. Here is the NAM precip forecast through Monday:



As you can see, most of the action is on or west of the Crest.

Next Weeks Forecast
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it does look like this storm cycle is winding down. High Pressure is moving in to our west and south. These ridges can be stubborn and difficult to move. When they camp there, sto…

Sunday's Storm Will Move Directly Over Us

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The storm for Sunday that I have been talking about in my last couple of posts has slowed somewhat and will probably not hit until later in the day. That storm will track right over us. That means as the storms moves by, it will pull down cold air from the north. Conversely, as the storm approaches it will be bringing up warm air from the south. That is due to the counter clockwise rotation of the low pressure system. Take a look at the EC forecast for Sunday afternoon, followed by the GFS forecast for the same time:

EC Forecast Late Sunday Afternoon



GFS Forecast, Late Sunday Afternoon


You can see that GFS has the storm quickly moving past us and then stalling out bringing cold snow to the area on Monday. EC has the storm hitting later, with the precip on the front end, which of course would be mean heavier, wetter snow. Regardless, both models are calling for only about an inch of precip in the Sierra and about half that for the Carson Range. My initial forecast is 4-12 inches for Slid…

Storms Still On Track, Cycle May Intensify Next Week

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Today and Tomorrow's Storm
The storm that I have been talking about for a couple of weeks is here and is following just what the models have forecasted. It has moved north which still leaves plenty of precip for our area. It should be snowing in the Sierra for at least the next 24 hours. The crest will pick up between 1 and 3 feet. The Carson Range (Slide Mtn) should pick up about half of that, 6-18 inches. This is because of a string south wind that is keeping the bulk of the precip in the Sierra. Here is an updated look at precip totals through Friday:



Sunday's Storm
Sunday's storm is also on target for what I talked about in my last post. It looks like a shot of pretty intense snow starting Sunday morning and lasting through the day. Here is a look at the forecast for very early Sunday morning:



This is also a warmer storm that should bring rain to all areas of the valley. Snow levels will probably be in the 7,000 foot neighborhood, which means rain at lake level too. Cou…