Showing posts from 2013

January Could Bring Much Needed Change to Tahoe

I have been checking the weather models, both short and long term. I am starting to see indications that our weather pattern may finally change. I want to make one thing perfectly clear, this is what the EC weather model is saying for the long term. Until the actual weather happens, nothing is guaranteed. However, it does not hurt any of us to have something to look forward to.

First let's refer back to my last post. It talked about the PNA and AO. I mentioned atmospheric rivers that bring copious amounts of moisture to our area when both the PNA and AO go negative. The PNA has been negative, however the AO has remained positive. That means cold air, an essential ingredient for large storms, has been trapped in the Arctic by the northern jet.

The latest AO forecast has the index moving neutral and then negative. This could bring a very much needed change to our weather. 2013 was the driest year ever for our region. The funny thing about the climate is that averages rarely if ever …

Driest Year Ever?

San Francisco and most other cities in California will remember 2013 as the driest year ever. Take a look at the following chart:

This shows the total rainfall to date and the percentage of normal. San Francisco is among the driest of the dry cities in California. Reno, Carson City and all of Tahoe are experiencing similar numbers. What looked like a decent December a few weeks back has turned dry, like the rest of 2013. Remember the snowy December of 2012. As soon as the year changed, so did the weather. And it hasn't changed back since!

We continue to have a ridge of high pressure pushing storms east and north. That trajectory is never good for a major precip event. All of the models and now forecasters are pretty convinced that this pattern will remain in place through the end of 2013. I am starting to hop on that band wagon.

However, there is hope. Our biggest, wettest storms have traditionally taken place when a certain condition is present. That condition is a combination of…

Things Not Looking Good in Near or Long Term

Here is the bad news, this chart is the EC forecast for total precipitation between now and January 13th:

The EC weather model is forecasting around a 1/4 inch of liquid precip during our snowiest time of the year.

Now the good news; The EC weather model is forecasting around a 1/4 inch of liquid precip during our snowiest time of the year. Yes, that is correct! This weather model along with the other other weather models have been consistently wrong the entire year. When EC has predicted something, long term, the exact opposite has occurred since last January. The exact opposite of no snow is lots of snow.

I will keep an eye out and continue reporting to my faithful readers. In the meantime, do not lose hope, not all is lost ... our snow will come, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Stay Tuned ...

Four Inches for Carson Range, Next Shot Comes in Saturday

The well advertised inside slider brought in some very cold air out of Canada and about 4 inches of snow on the eastern front range. That was a pretty productive slider that produced more precip than I had thought possible.

The next chance for snow comes in on Saturday. The models are in agreement that a wave will come from the northwest through our area and produce more snow. Here is a look at that storm on late Saturday morning:

This is not a very large storm, but every bit helps. The following chart shows the expected total precip for Saturday and Sunday:

Right now it looks like around an inch, more west of the lake, less east of the lake. Based on our cold temps I expect this to be all snow for all of Tahoe. The snow to liquid ratio should be high so I am expecting between 8-16 inches of snow ... possibly slightly more. That should be enough for the fine folks at rose to get NW cranked up and start the season.

I am tracking a slightly larger storm for next week around Wednesday or…

Massive Cold Front Ushers in Very Cold Air, Little Precipitation In Near Term

There is a lot of cold air coming our way. We will get our first taste of winter starting on Tuesday. The leading edge of this cold air looks to be our best chance of snow for the next 10 days or so as our very dry pattern continues. High temperatures will not reach freezing on Wednesday and will probably not climb out of the 40's for a couple of weeks.

That is the bad news. The good news is the 30 day still looks pretty good. Starting around 12/11 we should start to see the storms make it to our area. EC has been pretty consistent on this December event so keep the faith. Of course around the 10th, you cold wash your car ... that may help too.

Here is a look at the 30 day total precip; remember this is liquid precip. With the colder pattern this could translate into quite a bit of snow by the end of the month. Again, we should see storms showing up on the short term weather models in about a week and the fun could get started around the 11th of December.

Stay Tuned ...

Weather to Remain Dry for at least 9 Days

If you believe the models, which change their mind more than my high school girlfriend, things are not looking good in the near term for any precip at all. We have a storm that is coming in from the west. However, just about the time it see's land, it cuts straight south and will have no effect on our weather whatsoever.

I am tracking a storm that could show up in about a week to 9 days that I will talk about next. In the meantime, a weak slider could come into the area and leave a dusting or slightly more next Monday or Tuesday.

The best chance I see comes into our area around the 5th of December (one week from Thanksgiving). The European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (I oftentimes refer to it as the "EC") forecasts this for a week from Thursday.

The EC has this storm coming right over us and it could (I want to repeat could) leave a very welcome foot or two of snow behind in the mountains around Lake Tahoe.
I want to remind everybody that my friends over at…

Snowy December is in the Cards

As the current storm continues to provide on again off again moisture, I wanted to take a look at our next opportunity for mountain snow. It looks like a weak to moderate system will move in from the west and come inland to our area in about a week. Here is the EC weather forecast for the middle of next week, around Thanksgiving day:

The potential exists for a similar event to what we are experiencing now.

We are still on track for what looks like a series of large storms for our area starting around the December 9th. Here is a long term forecast for late on the 9th of December:

This is a much larger storm than anything we have seen this year. It is projected to make shore in Washington and send heavy precip all the way down the coast to from Northern Washington to Southern California.

Three days later around the 12th or 13th of December a smaller system is being projected to come into our area with an ample precip tap:

A few days later another storm comes into the area:

Then a few da…

Finally, Mountain Snow Coming Our Way

The latest model runs are in pretty good agreement that this next series of systems, brought in by a split jet-stream that looks to be putting Tahoe in the cross-hairs, should bring some good precip. The big benefactor here will be the Carson Range and Slide Mtn in particular. Snow levels will vary, but it looks like all snow at 8,000 and above. The timing of the systems starts late tomorrow afternoon and lasts through Thursday with on again, off again snow for the Sierra.

These storms are weak, but are packing some serious moisture. Some models have 1.5 inches of liquid precip. I believe Slide Mountain will pick up between 12-18 inches of snow (at the top) by Friday morning. Depending on altitude, some areas on the west side of the lake could see 2 feet or more. Hey, better than nothing.

Here is a look at the NAM weather model and what we can expect in the way of liquid precip:

A small area of 2-2.5 inches west of the Lake. Around 1 inch for the Carson range. I believe those totals a…

Is There Anything To Look Forward To?

The first time all year the models were leaning toward a winter storm. As quickly as they forecast it, they changed the forecast. This has been a very slow start to the year. The chance of anything decent being open by Thanksgiving looks very bleak.

The next chance for the storm machine to get cranking comes on or about November 26th. However, the 30 day precip model is not terribly optimistic for any major storms coming between now and the 2nd week in December although it is looking at some moderate precip between November 26th and December 5th.

Here is a look at the total precip forecast for the next 30 days, almost all of this comes after the 26th:

You can see the storms will be creeping up on us, however the EC model (shown here) believes most precip will be to our north and west, where they will pick up 10+ inches of the liquid stuff. For our area we are looking at between 2-5 inches and that is being very optimistic. Couple that with seasonally warm temperatures and you see the …

Storms Weaken, Ridge Builds In

I may have jumped the gun with my last forecast. Like I said, I do not get paid so I can tell you what the models are hinting much more in advanced than the professionals. Next weeks storms have not only weakened, but a ridge of high pressure will move more north and west and block the weaker systems from reaching us. Therefore, never mind on next weeks storms, our string of gorgeous weather looks like it is going to last for at least another week or two.

Stay Tuned ...

Changes Coming For Next Week, Maybe

Ok, that extended golf season I promised did not disappoint. We had a beautiful stretch of weather that looks like it will come to an abrupt halt with the seasons first major winter storm next week. First I will talk about the storm or storms, and then I will caution you as I am only showing the GFS model.

Late next Monday the fun will begin with a cutoff low moving precip into our area. Here is a look at the GFS forecast for next Monday evening:

This is a weaker system, but it is ushering in what I believe will be a major change to our weather pattern. The real fun gets going late next week, somewhere around the 14th or 15th of November as a major storm moves down the coast and taps into some real decent moisture. Here is a look for the morning of Friday November 15:

As always, not all the news is good. I have two concerns. First, the EC weather model is late in seeing this development. I believe it will fall into line, but as of yet it is calling for 2 inches of liquid precip. There…

Extended Golf Season on the Way

With few exceptions, October should be a beautiful month in the Reno/Tahoe area. I know we received a few teaser storms, but all that snow will melt. Looking at the long range forecast, I am not seeing any major storms developing and coming to our area, possibly through October.

Having said that, what about the upcoming winter? How much snow can we expect? I have read numerous articles trying to predict the long range forecast. The only thing they have in common is they have nothing in common. I have heard of a weak to moderate El Nino (aint going to happen, at least not until spring) and a weak La Nina (slight chance). My guess is we will stay neutral ENSO until at least late January. Therefore the El Nino Southern Oscillation is not going to provide us any guidance.

Some pig was wagging his tail counter clockwise during the Wanning Gibbous Moon, therefore the Farmers Almanac says the USA is in for a bitter cold winter. I am not sure how much credibility I can give that, although the…

Smoke Report

I have been asked by some of my loyal readers to give a smoke report for the Reno/Tahoe/Carson area. It seems the local weather people are unwilling to commit to anything. Since I do not get paid to do this, I will tell  you what the models and wind forecasts are telling me.

Let's hope they are wrong.

We have been in a straight southerly flow. That means our winds are straight out of the south. We are due north of the Rim/Yosemite fire and the wind has made a beeline to our area (DA!).

I am seeing a change over that should result in a westerly flow, however, this will be short lived. This could improve conditions slightly for the next 12 hours or so. However we still have a very stubborn ridge of high pressure that does not look like it will move until Labor Day ... sorry. The GFS model has a low pressure system coming into our area. Buyer beware: the more reliable EC model has that system staying further north. In any event, it should be enough to push the smoke out by early next…

Ma Nature Throws Another Curve

This has been a pretty amazing season. We started with what looked like a moderate El Nino which lead to an epic start of the season. Then the spigots were turned off, literally. Storms kept forming and approaching and dying. The weather turned warm and calm for much of the spring. Then summer showed up and the temps dropped off the table.

So what gives?

The simple answer is that nature is unpredictable. Even this time of year. Many years we struggle to get into our summer weather pattern. What makes this year different is the mild spring temperatures. Most readers thought Ma Nature was done until next fall.

Not so fast. We have a surprisingly strong storm just of the Northern California Coast that has some very wet and cool air associated with it. The actual low is just off the Southern BC coast. The cold front is moving into our area today and will bring rain, clouds, wind and cool temperatures for the next couple of days. Below is a map of current conditions and trends. The cold fr…

No April Fools, Storm Track is Heading Our Way

The Jet Stream is going to set up right over our area and that will usher in a series of storms that could make April a very storm month. Currently, the more reliable EC weather model is forecasting 8-10 inches of liquid precip for the Carson Range starting on April 1st and lasting 2-3 weeks. Here is the latest monthly control view for total precip ending on April 20th:

As can clearly be seen, West of Tahoe is in the 10+ inch range and the Carson range is in the 8-10 inch range. Remember this is liquid precip. We could be looking at a major weather event for the higher elevations of the Sierra and Carson Range.

The fun should begin around the 1st of April. Here is a look at the forecast, notice the storm is off the coast and the leading edge is pulling in precip for the entire state of California.

The only downside to this pattern is snow levels will be very high. How high? Right now it looks like 8,000 feet and up. Of course that could change as could the entire weather pattern. That…

Storms Weaken and Head North

We are still looking at a precip event for Wednesday and Wednesday night but not nearly what I had hoped for last week. These storms are moving in from the west and shifting north before they come ashore. Although this storm has a good moisture tap, it just moves too far north too fast. Here is a look at midday on Wednesday:

Here is the precip total forecast:

As you can see, the models have backed off a major event. We are looking in the 6-12 inch range for the Sierra North and West of Tahoe and 4-8 inches for the Carson Range with more to the north of the lake.

Look for pretty high winds to accompany this storm as well, especially Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening.

Looking ahead, the more dependable European model is forecasting 6-8 inches of liquid precip within the next 30 days with no focus on a major storm as of yet. I will keep any eye out and report accordingly.

Stay Tuned ...

Nice Weather to Gradually Wind Down, Storms on Tap for 3/21 - 3/26

Our very mild weather will slowly cool each day until next Wednesday/Thursday. Then things get really interesting. A very large and impressive storm is headed our way and could bring as much as 4 inches of liquid precip to the Western Crest of Lake Tahoe. It will tap into very warm moist air and elevations on this one could be a little tricky. For Mt. Rose, expect all snow. Preliminary indications, however, are 7,000-7,500 feet.

Here is a look at next Thursday, March 21st:

This storm comes in from the west and moves North as it reaches land. This could be a bullseye on Tahoe and could bring a major weather event. Being a week off, we will have to wait and see, but this comes from the much more reliable European Model (ECMWF).

Here is a look at the precip forecast for this storm, pretty impressive for late March:

This storm is going to stick around for a while and should send several waves of precip our way. It will finally exit the scene as another storm pushes it out. Here is a look …

Swing and a Miss

As is often the case, when the weather models are in wild disagreement, our hopeful forecasts whiff. Our potential for a foot or more of snow last week, faded into the weeds as both storms weakened significantly and only left behind 2-4 inches.

Our next hope was for the first week in March. My good friend, Sven, over at Unofficial Mt. Rose sent me an interesting tidbit from NOAA. That tidbit talks about conditions ripening in that first week of March. That sent me back to the models and lo and behold, the two most accurate models are now focusing on what looks like a decent snow event for around the 6th or 7th of March. In addition, both models are looking for another event about a week later, March 14th.

First let's take a look at the 3/6 event; I have posted 3 charts below. In chart one, around the beginning of March, we can clearly see that conditions are finally ripening. We have our blocking ridges of high pressure right where they need to be and a few decent sized storms poi…

Wash Your Car

Beautiful weather for the weekend will turn into a series of storms heading our way for next week. The pattern change will begin on Tuesday and last through the weekend, at least. These systems will bring in much colder air but the models are in stark disagreement with the amount of moisture headed for the Sierra.

We will focus on the more consistent EC model. Below are a series of forecasts for what I would call  chances for moderate snow in the Sierra on Tuesday night, Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday Night
Friday (2-22)
Saturday (2-23)
These storms together could bring as much as 1-2 feet of snow to the Sierra and Carson range. They will also bring much cooler temps and much windier conditions. Remember, the EC model is the most aggressive. The GFS, which has been the least reliable model for a couple of years now, is predicting much less precip.

Finally I wanted to show you why a chance exists for these conditions and storms to continue into the first week of March. This is the EC long r…

Changes Coming, but Slowly

After a month of high pressure dominating our weather, there are indications that changes are coming. However, they are taking their time getting here. In my last post I talked about conditions ripening for a more stormy weather pattern around the first or second week of February. I am tracking a decent sized storm that will make it to our area. However, by the time it gets here, it will have weakened and will probably not bring significant snowfall to Tahoe. That storm which is heading toward the Washington/Oregon coast now, will make it's way into our area Friday and Saturday. As it moves inland, it will severely weaken, however. Here is a look at late Friday:

This storm, like the past few will be moisture starved and will probably really kick our winds. It will also usher in a much cooler air mass.

Where others see disappointment, I see opportunity. This storm is going to knock down our stubborn ridge of high pressure. Although the ridge will return by Sunday, it will be positi…

Not Much In Short Term, Long Term Starting to Look Good

Short Term
This little storm that has been producing light snow showers has certainly shown more gumption than I thought it had. Having said that, it will only leave a few inches of snow behind in the Sierra and only at the upper elevations.

In my last post I talked about a cold front heading our way for Sunday. We are still on track for that storm and I am hoping that we can squeeze 4-8 inches out of it by Monday night. Then high pressure moves in. Here is a look at Wednesday the 30th of January.

As you can clearly see, high pressure will be dominating the entire west coast. The storm for Sunday will usher in some much cooler air, but that cooler air will be short lived. For you hockey players that are looking for frozen lakes, the short term does not look great. You may be able to squeeze in some ice time Monday through Thursday of next week ... but that may be pushing it.

Long Term
Things are definitively changing. In my last post I talked about larger storms that could change the w…

Conditions Change In a Week

Take this with a grain of salt; the weather pattern will change in about a week from today (1/27). At that time conditions will ripen for a series of storms to come into our area. Here is a look at the first storm, which right now appears to be the best chance for some precipitation. The two images reflect about 12 hours of precip that should be coming our way next weekend.

The next chart shows why I am confident this storm will make it down to our area. You can see quite clearly that the storm door will open. This too is a chart for the 27th:

So conditions will be favorable next weekend. However I want to qualify this. Right now I do not see a major storm cycle. In fact, I do not see a major storm cycle at any time in the next 2-3 weeks, at least. The storms are not very big and our ridge of high pressure does appear to be in a favorable blocking pattern for the the western 2/3 of the USA for the 2-3 weeks, with the exception of this Sunday. Another qualifier; It does appear the stor…