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Showing posts from 2016

Long Term Forecast Jan 5-12: Omega and Rex blocks dictating weather pattern

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By Paul Huntington

Time to bundle up everyone because Thursday Jan 5 will be down right freezing with mostly clear skies, a few passing clouds and very LOW temperatures in the teens as Arctic air plunges down from Alaska. It should be one of the best ski days in a while for higher resorts that have a larger base. This appears to be some of the coldest temperatures in a while, possibly since December 1998 when I recorded snow along the beaches of Central California! Now that we have a solid frozen base this is a very good pattern for a sustained season and water storage as the fresh snow accumulates on the established base that almost melted during the last warm atmospheric river storm but has now refrozen into a thick slab of ice (lower elevation resorts like Bear Valley, Sierra Summit, even Sugar Bowl did not fair well with the warm storm though and be very careful about hidden rocks under fresh light snow!!).

Friday 1/6 and Saturday 1/7 appear to be clear and cold with temperatures …

Epic January on Tap? We Think So!

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Thus far it has been a pretty average year for snowfall, but above average for precipitation. As the Cyclones crossed the Pacific in October, they brought copious amounts of rain, even to the high elevation. The last several years, January has meant Indian Summer with dry and warm conditions. Not this year. We are tracking a weather pattern that could bring record breaking snow to the Sierra and Carson Range in the month of January. That starts tomorrow.

This has been a tough storm to call. First of all we have a weak low pressure system that will make shore in Southern California, and will have no effect on our weather. However, we have a series of storms that will fall out of the north, bringing light snow to the Sierra and Carson range. Then, around Tuesday we have a series of moist warm storms that will bring a much better chance of heavy precip. Here is a look at the forecast for next Tuesday:


I expect good spillover for this event into Reno and Carson, which could be looking at …

Long Term Forecast December 26- January 3

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By Paul Huntington

Well everyone, this year is definitely starting to bring back the memories of what our majestic Sierras use to be like during our beautiful California Winters and its beginning to look like our North Pacific Decadal phase (warm) and weak La Nina base state is going to support a "perfect" pathway for colder lows to continue to stack up and build in strength while rotating down from the cold gulf of Alaska. The Christmas eve storm is much more in the lines of what La Nina winters bring storm dynamic wise and I am seeing many more of these storm types impacting the Sierras into early January and possibly February. The driving force right now is not the MJO (most hyperactive segment of the equatorial thunderstorm belt) but more where the Arctic high is establishing and impinging on the polar jet forcing it more southward or Northward along the West Coast. Along those lines, the Arctic Oscillation (AO), and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are in close synchron…

Dreaming of a White Tahoe Christmas?

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A strong storm is going to be hitting Tahoe and almost the entire state of California right around the 23rd of December. The storm should last through Christmas day and bring much needed precip. Here is a look at the forecast for the afternoon of the 23rd:




About 18 hours later, this storm grows in size and picks up moisture:


There is a better chance that this storm pummels Mammoth. However, much needed precip will be falling in the southern part of the state too. Here are the precip totals through Christmas day:


Despite this storm coming in from the west snow levels will be much lower as this is a much cooler storm and will tap air from the north. I expect all snow for all Tahoe resorts. Currently GFS is much later than the EC prediction, but for now I will stay with EC and the bulk of the moisture moving to central and southern California. GFS is also predicting much more precip.

Of course that will almost certainly change, and we will let you know in the next couple of days, who get…

Storm Update

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The timing of our forecast was a little off, but we still expect a major precip event. Expect very strong winds ahead of this system. Here is the forecast for early Thursday morning, notice how the moisture is tracking north of us:


Here is the forecast for Thursday afternoon:

Notice how the moisture is sinking south. Also notice the tail of this storm forming what has become known as an atmospheric river.

Finally, here is the forecast for late Thursday night through Friday afternoon:


This event will not have nearly the duration that we had hoped for, so we are lowering our precip totals. Here is the total precip forecast:


We are still looking at 2-3 feet of snow for Mt. Rose. We believe this event will be all snow above 7,500 feet and snow levels will move down as the storm moves its way through.

By Friday night, much colder air will follow the storm as high pressure sets in off the coast.

Looking way ahead, I am not seeing any major storms for next week as high pressure dominates. Th…

Tahoe in Bullseye for Next Storm

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We have a good 12 hours of heavy precip left in this storm, but it is never too early to talk about the next storm.

That storm is set to begin Tuesday afternoon and before all is said and done, it could drop 3-10 additional feet of snow on the Sierra and Carson Range. Snow levels again are a bit tricky and could hover around the 8,000 foot mark as this storm is pulling in Sub Tropical moisture from as far way as Hawaii. Right now the models are predicting near constant, heavy precip until late the following Thursday. Folks, that is 60 hours of moderate to heavy precip. If that is all snow, I believe this could be one of the biggest precip weeks in sometime and could bring nearly 10 feet of snow to the Carson Range.

The following 3 images are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at noon, as seen through the forecast eye of the ECMWF:

Tuesday noon pst:

Wednesday noon pst:

Thursday noon pst:
Finally here is the precip totals through next Friday, pretty staggering:

Areas west of the lake could g…

Major Pattern Change in Store for Tahoe

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After a fairly prolonged dry spell, the weather is about to change. A series of storms are headed our way that should bring significant snow to the Sierra.

Starting tonight and lasting until Friday, we will see light to moderate snow. Then, starting on Friday night, a much larger precipitation event will occur.

Here is the forecast for very late on Friday:


That storm to our north and west will stall and pick up moisture and bring that moisture straight into Tahoe. By Saturday afternoon things will look like this:


Things will settle down slightly from Sunday afternoon through Monday, then a warmer storm approaches us from the south and west that is packed with moisture. This could turn into an atmospheric river event which Paul talked about in his last post. Here is a look at Tuesday morning, notice the moisture tail:


Currently, the models have this storm going slightly north of us, but I believe we could well be in the Bullseye for this event.

Beyond that, the storms appear to be stac…

Cold storms stacking up through at least December 12

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By Paul Huntington

After this rather weak inside slider departs late morning a brief dry period with cold temperatures settles in and then Sunday thru Tuesday (12/4-12/6) a blast of cold frigid Arctic air sags southward into California with a slightly more dynamic storm than yesterdays rotating down into interior California. After that cold air mass and storm moves through, Wednesday (12/7) is dry and then the North Pacific jet stream lowers, knocks down the high, and brings in a much wetter and bit warmer storm that should really get Tahoe opening upper lifts by late next week. After Saturday I honestly don't know what to expect with either a weak high establishing or more cold storms. The Climate Prediction Center is seeing troughing along Central/Northern California so I would predict another storm around Monday (12/12) moving in.

One thing of note is the PNA (Pacific North America Pattern) is going negative now indicative of a cooler La Nina angular jet stream and i'm hopi…

Winter Storm Door Opens Early December

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By Paul Huntington

It appears we are in store for a short break- starting Monday Nov 28 afternoon thru Tuesday night- from the parade of storms that have recently lined up to get Tahoe started off on the right track this year. This break, however, appears to be short lived with a cold inside slider type system clipping North Lake on Wednesday morning/early afternoon Nov 30 and then a weak ridge of high pressure establishes but albeit a weak one and nothing like we saw during the 2011-2015 Winter in January and February. It then looks like the Pacific wave pattern shifts with both the subtropical and polar jet coming off Eurasia meeting in a sweet spot in the Western North Pacific around Japan. This combination of warm and cold is perfect for the formation of large low pressures that will grow into very impressive storms as we enter into polar night and cold air circulates down from the North Pole. In addition the ITCZ or MJO is acting up in the central equatorial pacific creating an e…

It Could Snow for the Next 10 Days ... or More

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Checking the latest ECMWF model, things have changed radically. We had mentioned that things are ripe, especially if you have read Huntington's posts. However, the models had not been picking it up. Well, they have now, especially the EC model which is showing one storm after the next, starting around noon tomorrow, for the next 10 days.

Snow elevations should not be a problem as these storms look to deliver around the 7,000 foot mark and below. Of course some lower mountain rain could occur west of Lake Tahoe, but Rose should be all snow.

Here is a look at the 10 day liquid precipitation forecast:


As you can clearly see, we are moving into a very wet period and a not a second too soon. Slide Mountain is being forecast to pick up between 4-6 inches of liquid in the next 10 days. That could translate into 4+ feet of snow and I am fairly confident that it is going to happen. Again, some higher elevations west and north of the lake are looking at nearly 10 feet of snow. Now that my f…

Long Range Outlook

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Ok friends, normally when I receive a bunch of mail, I do nothing. However, after yesterday's forecast it would appear that many other forecasters are in disagreement with myself.

Truth be told, I lean heavily on the ECMWF model. That is the European model. It has a much larger budget than the North American models and I believe it is much more accurate, especially long term.

Rarely, will I post a forecast without a graphic backing up what I am saying. When GFS and ECMWF are in agreement, then I post with great confidence.

There are, however, some anomalies taking place that are unprecedented. We were suppose to slip into a La Nina pattern. However, the typhoon season on the other side of the Pacific sent Kelvin Waves that basically wiped out La Nina. In fact, there is at least a possibility that El Nino could come back.

Paul Huntington has been all over this since September. He believes that the models are not reflecting what he is seeing as of yet. Remember, Paul has been spot o…

Weather Will Change but Don't Expect any Major Snowstorms

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We have had a beautiful run of weather and that is going to change. However, the long term snow pattern does not appear to be in the cards, at least not yet.

A strong cold front will bring very little precip but lots of cold air into the Tahoe region tomorrow night. Here is a look at the precip forecast for very late tomorrow night into early Wednesday morning.


Unfortunately, not a lot of moisture is associated with this system. I am guessing 2-6 inches for Slide Mountain by Thursday night.

When this system exits, it will leave lots of cold air in place. This should give the folks at Mt. Rose a chance to finally start making snow. However, I am seeing another warm period that could last for a few weeks starting next week.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. A second system will come into the area very early Sunday morning. This system will have a better moisture tap. It will warm things up and snow levels could be a bit tricky. Right now it looks like 7,000 feet, but that could …

Prediction on track for snow to begin Tuesday November 15

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Forecast by Paul Huntington

Not much to say about that last anemic low that just completely fizzled out and I did not see that happening as the inland high has been extremely weak since end of last February and to be honest got me bit worried about drought returning. Nevertheless, changes are on the horizon starting Tuesday Nov 15 and it seems my prediction is on track!! This should be the beginning of an active pattern that could be supportive of colder storms that should allow most of Tahoe to open by Thanksgiving? The teleconnections at the moment are conducive for troughing along the West Central coast of North America beginning next week with hopefully the storm track becoming progressive and continuing into December. Many variables are at play but here are some of the major ones: 1.) East Pacific Inter tropical Convergance Zone in the Pacific is acting up which generally supports a lower latitude jet stream in Northeast Pacific that can dip down to the Los Angeles area, 2.) the …

Last Storm for a While

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The latest model runs are showing a weakening of the storm that is set for tomorrow. Then, after this storm clears out, I see no more storms for the next week or more.

Starting tomorrow morning, look for winds to pick up as this storm stalls off the coast. The storm will send a few waves of moisture our way on Sunday and Monday. The good news, this storm is much cooler and this will be all snow for Mt. Rose. Perhaps as much as 18 inches, but more likely around a foot. They really need it as their proposed opening for Monday simply is not going to happen.

I also do not see much spillover moisture for the leeward valley's associated with this storm.

Starting Tuesday and lasting through next weekend, look for mild temps and mostly clear skies. The golf season continues!

Here is a look at the forecast for 4:00 tomorrow afternoon as this storm forms and moves its moisture into the Sierra and Carson range:


Again, I see the Carson Range getting our fair share with this storm. My best gue…

3 Storms in 5 Days

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Things are setting up for a very active weather pattern for at least the next week, and probably beyond. Things pretty much have turned out the way we thought they would with Tuesday's storm being shadowed out. Now we are going to receive some tropical moisture. Here is a look at the Pacific:


We have several storms out there. Most impressive is how far west our persistent ridge of high pressure has been moved out. Toward the bottom of this graphic is Hurricane Seymour which is going to feed several storms and bring much need precip to most of California and all of the Sierra.

Storm 1 - Tomorrow Late Morning


This storm will tap into the tropical moisture of Seymour and be a big Sierra event. There will be plenty of spillover into Western Nevada and the Carson Range as well. Unfortunately, this is a very warm storm with the tropical moisture tap and my best guess is that snow levels will start around 10,000 feet possibly dropping to 7,500 by late tomorrow as the storm rages on. In an…

Active Weather Pattern Starts Early Next Week

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Our persistent ridge of high pressure will be pushed out to sea as a large storm drops out of the Gulf of AK. In the meantime the latest Typhoon, will spin around this low and bring much needed soaking rains to all of California. For Rose to open, top to bottom, by Halloween, snow elevations are critical in these next series of storms.

First, take a look at the Pacific:


First, the northern storm will send a shortwave right through the Tahoe area. Although this wave will weaken the further it moves inland, we should pick up some precip very late on Monday or Early Tuesday morning especially west of Lake Tahoe and west of the Sierra in general:


Right now it looks like there will be a strong shadow effect and the Carson Range may be left out. We will keep an eye on this. This is another fairly warm storm and snow levels will hover around that 8,000 foot mark.

The next storm, which wraps around this low pressure system, will pick up a very strong moisture tap and should bring very benefic…

Help is on the Way; Sierra Fires to End

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The many fires that have broken out are going to be short lived. We are at the very beginning of 4 days of stormy, cool and humid weather. Although the local weather outlets are saying "up to 2 inches of rain for the Sierra", they are completely off base. It seems to me that everybody was so afraid of the winds, that they never considered the precip. The Western shore of Lake Tahoe will pick up between 5-10 inches of rain and quite a bit of that will be very wet snow.That will douse any fires that still remain. The leeward side of the Carson Range (Reno Foothills, Washoe Valley, Carson Valley) will pick up between 2-5 inches of rain, again enough to douse any fires that still remain. In fact, the valley floors will pick up 2+ inches of rain, not the Sierra.

The sensationalism of our local journalists, is bordering on irresponsible.

Here is the very latest run of the precip forecast for these storms:


As you can see the Sierra, west of Lake Tahoe is in line for 5-10 inches, at…

Large, Warm, Windy and Wet, Knocking on the Door

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For a synopsis of this storm system, which is now two storm systems, see our last post.

In the meantime, not much has changed. A couple of very large storm systems will be having a major effect on Tahoe weather over the next 5-6 days. These storms are packing major winds, especially Thursday night through Friday morning and then again Saturday afternoon.

They are also packing epic moisture. Not many outlets are talking about the moisture potential. Here is the ECMWF forecast for moisture through Wednesday:


The only change is the heaviest moisture will be to our north and west now. However, I still see major moisture for most of the Sierra around Tahoe and Carson range.

These are very warm storms and unfortunately snow levels are going to start out at around 10,000 feet. So only the highest peaks of the Carson Range will see all snow. Eventually snow levels will drop, but rise again as each moisture plume approaches. Amazingly, areas around the California/Oregon border are being foreca…

Large Wet Storm Heading Our Way For Next Week

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We have been tracking this pattern for some time. This is a very unusual pattern that has developed in the Pacific, the likes of which we have not seen for some time. This pattern is going to spin up a huge storm which appears poised to slam into the Tahoe area and Northern California. With Super Typhoon Chaba and soon to be Super Typhoon Songda, there is copious amounts of moisture for this large storm to work with. Here is a look at the current conditions. I have labeled the Typhoons with a "T". Chaba is nothing but a weak low pressure system, but will still feed our major storm as the week progresses:


It does not take a meteorologist to figure out the path of the storm with the blocking ridge off the BC coast. Songda will hook up with a strong storm in the Gulf of AK and form a particularly large storm, especially for this time of year. Remember back to 10/13 of 2009. We had a similar pattern. A typhoon crossed the Pacific, picked up strength along the way and dumped in t…