An atmospheric river is forecast to hit Lake Tahoe, CA this week beginning on Thursday. One of the latest weather forecasting models is showing up to 20 inches of rain falling in the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains.
This storm may not be an epic one for skiing, but California is currently experiencing an “Exceptional Drought” and we’ll take every drop of rain we can get.
Snow levels will be high with the storm. Models are currently suggesting an average snow level of 8,000-feet for the storm. That’s not great for skiing as most Lake Tahoe ski resorts top out at around 8,600-feet. The Mount Rose ski resort and backcountry area have bases above 8,000-feet. This storm could be a blessing for the Mt. Rose area. We’ll have to wait and see.
How much snow will Tahoe get out of this storm? Right now, forecasters are calling for less than a foot of snow above 8,000-feet.
NOAA SNOW LEVEL DISCUSSION:
IN GENERAL EXPECT SNOW LEVELS TO BE HIGH WITH THIS STORM AS THE SIERRA REMAINS ON THE WARM SIDE OF THE JET WITH RIDGE LEVEL TEMPERATURES THAT WOULD INDICATE SNOW LEVELS ABOVE 8000 FEET. HOWEVER, SNOW LEVELS CAN BE VERY TRICKY IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN RIDGE TOP TEMPERATURES ARE NEAR FREEZING AND ISOTHERMAL LAYERS DEVELOP DURING PERIODS OF HEAVY PRECIPITATION. FRIDAY NIGHT IS THE BIGGEST CONCERN RIGHT NOW AS THERE IS A CHANCE SNOW LEVELS MAY DROP TO NEAR SIERRA PASS LEVELS WITH THE POTENTIAL TO IMPACT TRAVEL. SNOW LEVELS WOULD MOST LIKELY RAISE CONSIDERABLY DURING THE DAY ON SATURDAY AND REMAIN HIGH UNTIL A COLD FRONT ARRIVES SUNDAY EVENING WITH THE POTENTIAL TO AGAIN IMPACT TRAVEL OVER SIERRA PASSES. IN THESE SITUATIONS SNOW LEVELS CAN BE DIFFICULT TO PREDICT 1 OR 2 DAYS, LET ALONE 5. THE BEST ADVICE IS TO BE PREPARED FOR LOWER SNOW LEVELS IF TRAVELING OVER SIERRA PASSES FRIDAY NIGHT, EVEN THOUGH IT IS ONLY HAS A SLIGHT CHANCE OF OCCURRENCE.
NOAA PRECIPITATION DISCUSSION:
WHAT I CAN SAY ABOUT PRECIPITATION AT THIS POINT IS THAT CONFIDENCE IS HIGH THAT THE NORTHERN SIERRA WILL RECEIVE SIGNIFICANT PRECIPITATION. CONFIDENCE HAS INCREASED THAT THE CENTRAL SIERRA WILL SEE A DECENT AMOUNT OF PRECIPITATION. AT THIS POINT I WOULD EXPECT THE EASTERN SIERRA TO RECEIVE SOME PRECIPITATION BUT CONFIDENCE REMAINS THE LOWEST WITH HOW FAR SOUTH THE MOISTURE WILL SPREAD.