Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's All Bonus Now....

Not much change in the short-term forecast with the storm moving in tomorrow afternoon/evening. Snow totals haven't really changed since yesterday's post. Only change is to possibly speed up the storm slightly and have it clearing out by Saturday morning. Heaviest snow should fall Thursday night into Friday morning. Now that Norhtstar is above average for snowfall this is all bonus snow going forward.

The cold with this storm will be as big of a story as the snowfall. Highs in the teens on the mountains Friday and Saturday, and they may not get out of the single digits above 8000 ft. at the summits of most resorts. One of the few times in Tahoe when you may actually want to wear one of those neoprene face masks. You know there will still be people with only sweatshirts on, but they may lose some skin on Saturday.

With an airmass this cold we are going to get some decent snow totals although we are only working with 1-2 inches of liquid. With snow ratios of 20-30:1 throughout the storm we will have snowfall totals of 1.5-2.5 feet in the Village, and 2.5-3.5 feet on the mountain. The GFS this morning only had 1-1.25 inches of liquid but the NAM had 2-2.25 inches. That is a big difference so I will watch the models closely today to try and figure out if we will get the high or low end of the forecast.

By Sunday & Monday the sun is shining and temps begin to rebound quickly back into the 20's & 30's as we get a Southwest flow and a weak ridge ahead of the next storm moving across the Pacific. The pattern next week will be differen't than what we have seen the past 2 weeks. The ridge wants to setup near the Aleutians or maybe even further North over the Bering Sea. So not only will there be storms coming down the coast from the North, but also from across the Pacific as they can easily pass under the new position of the ridge.

How the storms coming from the two directions interact is the question. The storms coming from West to East across the Pacific will be able to tap into subtropical moisture so they will be strong and much warmer than the storms we have seen. The storms coming down from the North will be cold. It may be the perfect combination as the cold lows from the North can push enough cold into the storms from the West to keep snow levels just at or below lake level.

The models show a storm next week for Tuesday/Wednesday, Thursday/Friday, and another Sunday/Monday the 6th & 7th of March. The only thing that could happen is that the lows pump a ridge up along the West coast far enough to keep the heaviest snow to our North, but that is not shown in the models. I am still not seeing anything long-term that would stop this pattern. The next two weeks should be quite stormy with normal Sierra style snow. Stay tuned......BA

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