Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Pattern Is Changing...

The snow guns continue to hammer out more terrain with the cold overnight temperatures with 29 trails open this weekend on all areas. We will continue to make more snow as temps allow and watch for when some more natural snow will arrive.

The forecast for the next 10 days keeps the ridge off the coast of CA but further South than it has been. This will open up the storm door to the Pacific NW bringing in lots of storm activity to Northern CA and it keeps us right on the Southern edge. As the storms move by to the North this week we could pick up a few snow showers on Wednesday and Friday but I'm not expecting more than a dusting on the mountain above 7000 ft. as of right now.

The ridge will shift out further West in the Pacific around the 1st and then the 5th of January to the North of Hawaii before quickly shifting back off the coast. This will allow the storms for the 2nd and 7th to shift further South which we have been watching for since it showed up last week. Right now though it looks like the brunt of the storms could stay just to the North of the area with only light amounts of snow but we will have to continue to watch.

Right now it's a +PNA pattern still which correlates with a ridge and dry conditions for CA. In a La Nina a -PNA pattern is more typical but it is not showing up yet in the forecasts. It should eventually though as the La Nina pattern takes over going into January.

Another factor that may not have helped this month is the position of the convection with the MJO. It was strong and progressing toward the Western Pacific at the beginning of the month and then just stopped at the edge of phase 5 in the Maritime Continent and has been sitting there all month. That is not in a good position for bringing snow to Tahoe as we would like to see it progress East into the Western Pacific.

It is forecasted to start moving again towards and through the Pacific over the next 2 weeks. The convection moving into the Western Pacific could mean the ridge beginning to retrograde back towards Hawaii the first week of January allowing storms to dig further South. The MJO tends to have a bigger affect on the pattern during a weak/moderate La Nina.

So there are no big storms showing up in the forecast quite yet, but the good news is that the pattern is changing to more of a La Nina pattern with the jet stream hitting just to the North. Now we just need to get rid of the ridge off the coast so the jet stream and storms can push further South. We will continue to watch for the PNA to go negative and for anything else that will help to get the storms into Tahoe. Keep the snow dances going. BA

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