Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time to Break it Down!!!.....

The ridge that is, the ridge from hell. Rumor has it that El Nino is in the cards for next winter. Can you imagine warmer water and a Southern jet with no more ridge off the West Coast? I can only dream. Here is a pic of what a storm splitting looks like. Look at the main energy splitting into SoCal with a gap forming between the engery in NorCal.

One more mild day and then a change is finally coming. There is a storm just off the coast that is cut-off from the main flow of the jetstream. It has a pretty decent moisture tap off the ocean, but it will start to dry up as it hits the dry air in place from the departing ridge of high pressure. The storm will split in half as it comes onshore and the bulk of the energy with the moisture tap will head into SoCal. The northern half will head across Northern CA. Snow showers should start sometime during the Thursday morning and last into the evening. Snow levels will start around 7000 ft. but quickly crash below lake level by Thursday afternoon. Latest model outputs for liquid with this first storm are pretty weak with only about 1/4 of an inch. That would equate to around 3 inches of snow. I would think not much accumulation with the radational heating thru the clouds during the day in town and 3 inches on the mtn., with maybe closer to 6 on top.

Second storm comes down the coast with a cold front on Friday. With the air already moist this storm should bring better snowfall. It will slide straight down the coast and not push inland till it reaches SoCal. They should again pick up the bulk of the precip. With no push towards the East the heaviest snow should get stuck up on the Western crest, similar to the storm two weeks ago. Models vary on the amount of moisture that will get drawn up into the Sierra. Some show about 9-12 inches on the crest with about 6-9 at Northstar, and some show a little more with 12-15 inches along the crest with 9-12 at Northstar. Areas to the South & West will get more, like Sierra at Tahoe. This track could change a little so will have to update the expected totals the next two days, but this will overall be a moderate snow event with 6-12 inches maybe a little more. SoCal needs the rain so this will help.

Most models have become more consistent today with a stronger and colder storm for Monday dropping over a foot of additional snow. One model that is relied heavily upon still has the bulk of the storm staying North of us. I am growing more confident of this storm but can't go completely in until the other model catches onto the same idea.

Still not going to go into the extended as models are all over the place. This usually means a big change in the pattern. On the table is the possibility of storms continuing every couple of days for a few weeks. Stay tuned....BA


Millicent Meng said...

sounds great - thanks so much for all your info

Anonymous said...

You say that El Nino could be on track for next year. How likely is that?

The reason I ask is that we moved up to Tahoe for the snow, but if next year is like this year, we might move to Utah or Colorado for something a bit more consistent.

BA said...

You may have your fill in the next two months. The season is only halfway over.

Should be an el nino of some sort next season. The ocean patterns point towards a warmup, it's starting already which is why the second half of the season should get better. noone gets as much annual snow as the Sierras.