The precip moved into the region early this morning ahead of the cold front still up in Northwest CA. The models have finally come into alignment with regards to precip. We are now looking at .75-1.25 inches of liquid over Tahoe. Snow ratios are are currently around 12:1 above 7000 ft. and will increase as the day goes on to around 15:1 and maybe slightly higher if any snow showers linger into tonight behind the cold front. That would bring totals of around 10-15 inches from base lodge and up, and 5-10 inches from the Village up to the base lodge.
The storm series starting this weekend has the potential to drop as much snow as the one in November, with twice the liquid content. I am going to make a bold prediction that Northstar could hit 50% of their annual average snowfall before Christmas. It is common with these storms that the models increase liquid amounts the closer we get to the storm. Models this morning have liquid amounts for the 7 day period of Friday - Friday that are off the end of the chart. Last time I saw that was back in the first week of January of 2008. You can see the 5 day precip forecast on the right sidebar is at over 4 inches and that is only through Sunday. That should go up everyday this week.
Looking at snow levels the models are in fairly good agreement that we go briefly just above lake level Saturday and then fall again. Other than that we look to have mainly snow Friday - Monday at lake level. Euro keeps the snow levels low next week and the GFS has them come up close to lake level Tuesday before falling again. Northstar's base lodge is around 6900 feet, which is 700 feet above lake level. That should mean that it stays all snow on a majority of the mountain. May just see a change to rain in the Village possibly on those 2 days.
If the amount of liquid on the models is right or keeps increasing we could potentially see over 7 feet on top again. The reason that is more impressive this time is that the snow ratios will be closer to 10-12:1 instead of 20:1 or higher. Snowfall forecasts will fluctuate a lot over the next week as we analyze each of the several storms as they arrive. Right now it does look as if we have a good chance at averaging at least a foot a day over the course of the week long storm cycle.
Still looking like we will clear up for Christmas weekend, although models are bringing a final storm through around Christmas Eve today. We should have at least a few days of quiet weather starting that weekend into the following week as the pattern shifts back West a little and we ridge up. Shouldn't last long as the block over the East weakens going into January. We should see the trough move back towards the West Coast with colder storms in January. Stay tuned....BA