In Tahoe anything under a foot is a dusting. There is a nice looking storm approaching the coast today but it will encounter the ridge over the West as it tries to push inland tomorrow. After that the forecast looks dry through next weekend.
As the storm tries to push inland tomorrow it will hit the back side of the ridge over the West and split. That will keep the heaviest precip along the coast and then send it South. Here is the precip forecast.
Only a couple hundred miles further East and we would be talking over a foot of snow. Right now it looks like at most we see a quarter inch of liquid so that would be around 1-3 inches across the Basin. Maybe a bit more on the crest if we’re lucky. The snow levels will be below lake level.
After that the ridge builds back in through the weekend keeping storms up into Canada. It looks like the Pacific NW may start to see a return of storms next weekend as the ridge shifts off the coast a little. The European forecast model keeps suggesting that the ridge retrogrades enough to allow some cold light snow events to drop down the West Coast all the way to Tahoe next week. It’s too early to buy into it but it is something positive showing up in the long-range.
There are a lot of factors that could affect our seasons but one thing that has been correlated is the strength of La Nina vs. California winter precip. The stronger the La Nina the more it correlates with increased precip. Last season we had an ONI max(the 3 month average of the Sea Surface Temp departures in the nino region) of -1.4 which is border line strong La Nina. Here is the precip anomaly for strong La Ninas against the 60 year average. (blue is above average orange is below)
We are right on the edge but lean towards above average. Actually 4 of the last 5 strong La Ninas if you include last season were above average snowfall. The forecast for this season was for a moderate La Nina which is 50/50 above and below through the years and correlates to an average season.
It looks like we may have peaked though with an ONI of -0.8 which is a weak La Nina. Here is the updated forecast from the CFS.
Unfortunately a weak La Nina correlates to below average precip and this map says we shouldn’t be suprised at the dry season so far.
Maybe we’ll get lucky and have Winter show up in the Spring with the fading La Nina like last season. BA