Everything is progressing as expected for the first half of the week. It snowed down to lake level until early this morning and now the snow levels are rising. They are currently sitting around 7000 ft. The snow has started to pile up on the mountains since Sunday with the most along the crest Northwest of the lake.
Looking at the 24 hour snowfall reports from the resort sites as of 6 a.m. this morning: Sugarbowl is reporting 28 inches in the past 24 hours, Boreal-24, Alpine-21. That is now 2-3 feet already this week for those resorts. Then the amounts drop off sharply as you go East and South. That is expected as the stream of moisture coming in off the Pacific is stalled and pointing at the Northwest corner of the lake. There is not much forcing so the rain shadow affect is keeping areas East of the crest at lower amounts.
This same pattern will continue into Friday with the only difference being the snow levels coming up today. Snow levels should rise to 7000 ft. today and then 7500 ft. tonight. That means just rain below that until the big cold storm moves in on Friday. Above 7500 ft. we could see another 6-12 inches today along the crest and 4-8 inches East of the crest.
Expecting similar amounts to fall through Friday as we have see so far this week. Another 1-2 feet East of the crest like on Northstar and 2-3 feet for resorts along the crest. East Shore of the lake at Heavenly and Mt. Rose maybe another 6+inches. That will come in 3-6 inch amounts along the crest tonight through Friday and 2-4 inch amounts East of the crest. Here is the snowfall forecast map through Friday.
That is before the trough sitting off the Northwest coast pushes inland later on Friday and Friday night. That will push a strong cold front towards Tahoe overnight Friday and begin to drop the snow levels back down to lake level. Heavy snow will fall ahead of the front Friday night and behind the front on Saturday. This storm will have plenty of forcing to push the heavy snow to the East side of the lake.
It still looks like enough liquid will fall over the Tahoe Basin for 1-2 feet at lake level, 2-3 feet above 7000 ft., and up to 4 feet along the crest by Saturday evening. The temperatures will be cold so this will be deep powder on top of the heavy base building snow that feel during the week. Snow showers could linger through Sunday piling up several more inches. For resorts like Sugarbowl that already have 3 feet, another 2-3 feet through Friday and then 3-4 more over the weekend means they could have 8-10 feet up top by Monday morning.
To make it official here is what the National Weather Service had to say this morning about the weekend storm: “TOTAL LIQUID AMOUNTS ALONG THE CREST ARE AT 3-4 INCHES. THIS STRONGLY SUGGESTS SNOWFALL RATES IN EXCESS OF 2 INCHES PER HOUR WITH GUSTY WINDS AND WHITEOUT CONDITIONS DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM. TOTAL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 2-4 FEET ARE LIKELY WITH HIGH END POTENTIAL AT 5-6 FEET.”
Until then it does suck that it’s raining below 7000 ft. but there are resorts with a base elevation above 7500 ft. like Kirkwood, and plenty of resorts that have lifts servicing the terrain on only the upper half of the mountains. You will just have a lot of wind to deal with until the storm winds down on Sunday. The weather forecast for 8,000 ft. on Squaw is what we always love to see. BA