We saw thick snow fall on the upper mountain Tuesday as we expected, and some wet snow to the base as colder air moved in changing the rain to snow into Tuesday night. Mountain ops reported 8 inches on the lower mountains and 13 inches of fresh snow on the upper mountain. Adding in the snow that fell Monday night, the storm total was 18″ for the upper mountain. Right in the middle of our 1-2 foot forecast for the storm.
Wednesday will be a fairly nice day. Mostly sunny skies and cold temperatures. Highs into the 30s at the base and 20s up top. Lighter winds with ridgetop gusts only up to 30-40+ mph in the morning dropping to 20-30+ mph during the afternoon.
After the break on Wednesday, 2 more waves move through Thursday into Thursday night. The first is weaker and colder with the 2nd bringing in some steady precipitation and rising snow levels Thursday night. Ridgetop winds could increase to 50-60+ mph Thursday which could affect some upper mountain lifts. Highs in the 30s.
Snow showers Thursday could bring up to a few inches of fresh snow to the mountain. Steadier showers Thursday night with snow levels rising to around 6200-6700 ft. by midnight, which is just above the village. Then continuing to rise to around 7200-7700 ft. by early Friday morning. That means rain will be falling on the lower mountain again.
Snowfall forecasting for the lower mountain with the snow levels rising is always tricky. The forecast below for the base is before the change to rain. Here are the expected totals by early Friday morning:
- 2-5 inches of new snow at the base.
- 4-8 inches at mid-mountain elevations.
- 8-13 inches on the upper mountain above 8000 ft.
Friday – New Year’s Eve Storms:
The next wave moves in Friday and is even wetter and warmer. Then a strong atmospheric river will be pointed at the Tahoe region Friday night into Saturday bringing very heavy rain & high elevation snow. Highs in the 30s both days. Ridgetop winds gusting up to 90+ mph from the southwest both days which should close down several upper mountain lifts.
Snow levels rise to around 7300-7800 ft. by midday Friday, up to 7800-8300 ft. by Friday evening, and up to 8700-9200 ft. by midnight Friday night. That means we could see heavy rain on most if not all of the mountain for a period. Then colder air starts to work in with snow levels down to around 7500-8000 ft. by Saturday morning, 7100-7600 by midday Saturday, 6500-7000 ft. by Saturday evening, and then dropping below 5000 ft. Saturday night.
That means rain changes to snow from top to bottom through the day on Saturday and reaches the base by sometime Saturday evening. Those snow level forecasts are our best guess based on all of the weather data we have available, but they could be slightly higher or lower at times throughout the storm. Overall a wet and windy storm is expected until later Saturday/Saturday night when it gets colder.
Snow showers are expected to continue Saturday night with some light snow for the base and several inches of drier snow possible on the mountain at the end. Forecasting snowfall will be very tricky with the rising and falling snow levels. Also, some of the forecast amounts will fall before a change to rain, and then some after the change back to snow.
By Sunday morning we could see additional snowfall amounts of:
- 1-4 inches at the base. (higher if snow levels fall faster than forecast)
- 11-43 inches at the mid-mountain elevations. (a big range with lower amounts down lower and more the higher you go up with the fluctuating snow levels.)
- 43-52 inches up top. (above 8000 ft.)
Of note is that the forecast on our conditions page is for mid-mountain which is why it shows the lower end of the mid-mountain forecast shown above.
New Year’s Day:
We have a break between storms for Sunday (New Year’s Day). We should see mostly sunny skies and lighter/breezy winds. Highs into the 30s at the base and 20s up top.
More Storms Next Week:
The next storm is expected to move in Monday. It looks a bit colder and weaker, similar to the Thursday storm. A possible break on tap for Tuesday the 3rd before another strong storm could bring heavy rain and snow again for next Wednesday the 3th into the 5th.
We’ll have more details on the storms next week once we get through all of the storms we are dealing with this week.
The trend this season seems to be for the long-range models to suggest a drier pattern beyond 10 days, and then the forecast trends wetter as we get closer. That trend is continuing into the 2nd week of January. The long-range forecast models now suggest that storms could continue.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest trends as we get closer…