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 synchronicity peaking positive now and then dive bombing toward negative which means the pressure gradient is weakening between the northern low and southern high in both the North Pacific and Atlantic and is the exact teleconnective pattern- during our Winter- that is very supportive of strong cold storms sagging down into Central and even Southern California. Starting around the new year could be one of Tahoes most exciting times for snow sports in quite a long time, like since 2010 or even going back to 1999.
Now switching from climatological signals to more day to day weather- after the Christmas eve storm drops 1-2 feet of fresh powder and possibly more above 8000ft, snow showers will linger into Christmas morning making it one of the best Christmas ski days in a while and enjoy it folks- it should feel good after the sucky drought and quirky El Nino Sierra cement storms.
Monday 12/26 thru Wednesday 12/28 is going to be a mix of scattered snow showers as another cold low storm moves through but will not be nearly as strong as the Christmas eve storm. I would predict 3-6+ inches and maybe more on top Monday thru Tuesday night, however the models are seeing dry weather also so don't set this one in stone. Wednesday 12/28- Friday 12/30 look like a break with cold clear skies with a couple passing clouds making it a very nice couple days for groomers, family runs, the half pipe, or hit the moguls (for you skiers).
Looking toward the end of the week more significant storms start to line up starting Thursday night/Friday morning around 12/30 and is a larger trough/storm that should impact most of Central California making the New Years weekend another fantastic period for Tahoe snow! Lastly, below is what the CPC (climate prediction center) is seeing and its looking very good everyone. I want to say the drought could be removed from Lake Tahoe by middle of February! Yes yes yes!!!