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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Storm Update

Here is what we are looking at right now. Confidence is pretty high. Unfortunately, precip totals, I believe, will fall well short of what we expected just 24 hours ago:

Thursday
First wave comes in. Snow levels will be right around 6,500 feet. This wave will not have a strong moisture tap. Add that with the incredibly dry air we have right now and precip totals will be down. I am guessing the Sierra will get perhaps up to an inch of precip by Friday morning. Because of the cooler air, that should translate to around 6-15 inches of snow for most of the Tahoe Sierra and Carson range. Expect pretty high winds on the eastern range Thursday afternoon and evening - Gusts to 75mph.

Friday
This continues to be the best chance for significant snow. Right now we are looking at 1.5 - 2.5 inches of liquid precip. This storm is really quite remarkable. Warm air will mix with the colder surface air and play havoc on snow levels. At times snow levels could climb to 9,000 feet. However, that will be short lived. In fact one area may have snow levels at 9,000 feet while another area a 1/4 mile away could have snow levels at 7,500 feet. That warm air will cool quickly and the great majority of that precip will be snow from lake level on up. At 8,000 feet look for 1-2 feet of snow, possibly more. Again very windy.

Sunday Night/ Monday
What looks like the last wave comes in Sunday night. The potential for heavy valley snow is gone. Snow levels will be much lower, but the spill over and lower valley elevations will prevent any major snow event. Again, this storm does not have an adequate moisture tap, so the conventional thinking is about .5 - 1 inch of liquid precip. That translates to 5-15 inches of snow for the upper elevations of the Sierra.

Tuesday
There is a slight chance of a quick burst, however right now I am thinking we will just have snow showers in the mountains. Every little bit helps, but don't expect much. 1-4 inches at 8,000 and up.

Warming Trend 
The remainder of the week looks like a big warming trend could well come our way with above average temperatures. 

Discussion
Right now I am guessing 2-5 feet for the Sierra. Unfortunately, probably closer to 2 feet than 5 feet. Mother nature can have many tricks up her sleeve and just a slight change in the trajectory of these short waves coming our way, and we could get more snow. Here is the latest EC precip totals through the middle of next week, EC is the most aggressive of the models:

Liquid Precip through middle of next week
Remember a couple of weeks ago we would have given anything for this. Let's hope this is just the beginning!

Stay Tuned ...

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