Big story today besides the impending blizzard will be the winds. I don't normally talk too much about the winds with a storm, but conditions with this storm are favorable to drag the high ridgetop winds down to the surface of the valleys and the lake. As with a lot of big storms, winds on the ridge will be 100 mph with higher gusts. With this storm we could see winds close to hurricane force down to lake level which would be around 75 mph. The high winds will also last a while beginning this afternoon and lasting into Tuesday. Combine that with the heavy snow and we will have an all out blizzard Tuesday.
Snow levels are high today around 8000 ft. As the precip starts tonight the snow levels will fall to 7000 ft. That means snow on most of the mountain, but a steady rain in the Village to start the storm. As the cold front moves through Tuesday morning the snow level will fall well below lake level. The heaviest snow will fall Tuesday and Tuesday night, but with a cold moist flow behind the front snow showers will continue through Wednesday. Snow ratios Tuesday night will be high with the cold air which will turn the snow powdery and up the totals. This morning's models are showing a solid 2 inches of liquid over the Tahoe basin by Wednesday night. That will mean over 2 feet of snow above 7000 ft. In the Village it will be a bit trickier with the initial start as rain, but I still think we could see at least a foot once it changes to snow Tuesday morning.
Next wave of moisture for Thursday looks like it will dive South down the coast, so we will begin to dry out on Thursday and Friday, but it will stay cold. Friday night another weak storm rolls through bringing only a few inches into Saturday.
On Sunday things get interesting again. Another slow moving cold front approaches similar to Tuesday's storm. Question is whether it will split or not. Either way we look to get snow Sunday into Monday, but if it holds together we could be looking at another couple of feet on the mountains. All said, by Monday night we may have seen up to 4 feet of snow on the mountain over the course of the week. This will put Northstar well above their average annual snowfall.
Looking beyond, it looks like a break in the action next week after Monday with a ridge building in. The ridge will be progressive though and will move East by the following weekend allowing another storm to move in. The storminess looks to continue into the middle of April, especially if the MJO continues on the path it is on. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this winter may try to hang on right till the end. BA