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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Coming To an Abrupt Halt

Short Term
If you enjoyed the last couple of days, then you will enjoy tomorrow as temps will climb close to 70 in Reno and Carson City. Tomorrow night will bring in a fast moving very cold front. With it will come all the winds and at least some snow for the Sierra. Precip with this front may start as rain below 8,500 feet but will quickly change over as the front approaches. This storm is moving fast but we can expect 2-6 inches for the Carson Range and possibly a bit more.

Tuesday and Wednesday will see high temps barely make it out of the 40's in the leeward valley and not crack the freezing mark in the Sierra. Another warm ridge of high pressure will move in for Thursday. A possibility of another system comes in for the weekend, but the models have that moving just north.

Long Term
Okay, I have been talking about conditions being ripe for winter weather. I believe the storm that I discussed in my last post, for the 12th will come into our area and give the Sierra a decent storm. Remarkably, both the EC and GFS weather models (the two that I rely on the most) are in complete agreement. That is rare this far out. How much snow we get, at least in my mind, remains the only question. But I will take a shot at it. Here is what GFS shows for the March 12th, 13th and 14th. The two charts show our area and the overall picture:

Late March 12th, Early March 13th

Same Look a Little Further Out
Notice how far to the west the ridge of high pressure has been pushed. Also notice, that there are NOT any big storms. There is a large amount of moisture. If we can get one of those big cold systems to drop down the coast with this amount of moisture available, we could get a very large, wet storm within a week of the March 12th event. With the ridge of high pressure that far west, the corridor is there for something significant. That is the effect of the MJO moving out of the Indian Ocean into the Western Pacific. Finally here is the model prediction for total precip for the March 12th event:


A good area of 2-3 inches of liquid precip could be coming to our area. Again, this is a long way out, but the agreement I am seeing in these models is giving me more confidence than I would have otherwise. The possibility exists (remember possibility as this has been a tough year for 10 day forecasts) for 1-3 feet of snow for the Sierra.

The EC monthly is not looking beyond the 13th. That can give me an idea of conditions moving forward. As my friends at Unofficial Rose say, only fools predict the weather this far out. When the next model run comes in I will talk further about the possibility of a protracted winter weather event.

Stay Tuned...

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