NOAA is calling this storm a “Severe” storm. Severe storms only impact Northern California once every several years.
This morning, NOAA is saying that confidence is HIGH for a significant precipitation event with MULTIPLE FEET of snow Wednesday night and into Thursday night. They’re forecasting an “Atmospheric River” to come directly Tahoe’s way that is forecast to drop 2-4 inches of liquid precipitation on the Tahoe area. NOAA is calling for 2-4 feet of snow above 7,500-feet.
Tahoe City is expected to see 2.50 inches of liquid precipitation from this storm. That’s about 2-feet of snow – if it was all to be snow.
The imperfection associated with this storm is the snow levels. NOAA’s confidence is low to medium regarding snow levels and how much snow will fall below 7,000-feet.
Above 8,000 to 7,500-feet, Tahoe is forecast to see 2-4 feet of snow. Below 7,500-feet, Tahoe will see some snow as snow levels drop towards the end of the storm. The X-factor here is how fast snow levels fall with the cold air that will arrive with the end of the storm. This storm’s highest rates of precipitation may be associated with higher snow levels resulting in little snow below 7,000-feet. But, maybe we’ll get lucky and the cold air will move in faster resulting in a foot of snow below 7,000-feet. We’ll have to wait and see.
NOAA SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT:
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV 424 AM PST MON DEC 8 2014 ...SIGNIFICANT STORM TO IMPACT NORTHEAST CALIFORNIA AND WESTERN NEVADA LATE THIS WEEK... A DEVELOPING STORM IN THE GULF OF ALASKA IS ON TRACK TO TAP INTO A PLUME OF DEEP MOISTURE LIFTING NORTH TOWARD THE WEST COAST STARTING LATE WEDNESDAY. SNOW LEVELS ARE LIKELY TO START ABOVE 7500 FEET WITH THIS STORM AND FALL THROUGH THE DAY THURSDAY. PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS WITH THIS STORM COULD VARY FROM 2 TO 4 INCHES ACROSS NORTHEAST CALIFORNIA AND THE NORTHERN SIERRA WITH LESS THAN 2 INCHES IN THE HIGH SIERRA OF MONO COUNTY. IN WESTERN NEVADA RAINFALL AMOUNTS MAY VARY FROM AROUND A QUARTER INCH IN THE VALLEYS TO AN INCH OR MORE IN THE FOOTHILLS ABOVE RENO AND CARSON CITY. BREEZY WINDS ARE ALSO LIKELY AHEAD OF THE STORM LATE WEDNESDAY INTO EARLY THURSDAY MORNING...ESPECIALLY ALONG THE HIGHWAY 395 CORRIDOR FROM SUSANVILLE SOUTH INTO MONO COUNTY. QUESTIONS REMAIN REGARDING HIGH FAST SNOW LEVELS WILL FALL IN THIS STORM. THE DIFFERENCES IN THE FORECAST MODEL DATA CAST DOUBT ON SNOW AMOUNTS IN THE SIERRA AND NORTHEAST CALIFORNIA BELOW 7000 FEET. IF SNOW LEVELS FALL FAST ENOUGH...THE SIERRA VALLEYS BELOW 7000 FEET COULD SEE SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL...BUT IF THE SNOW LEVELS FALL SLOWER SNOW FALL AMOUNTS WILL BE MUCH LESS. IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE SIERRA...ABOVE 7000 FEET AROUND TAHOE...MULTIPLE FEET OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE FROM LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING. ABOVE 8000 FEET IN MONO COUNTY 1 TO 2 FEET OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE BY LATE FRIDAY. TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ARE LIKELY IN THE SIERRA LATER THIS WEEK. CHECK BACK FREQUENTLY FOR UPDATES AS THIS STORM DEVELOPS FURTHER.