Friday, February 6, 2015

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One, Two, Update

As Mathew McConaughey would say,

Snow levels have been lower than expected but should unfortunately continue to rise over the next few hours as warm moist tropical air continues to stream into the Sierra. The snow levels bottomed out around lake level earlier this evening with about two inches of accumulation near Tahoe City.  Radar observations showed snow levels dropped to as low as 4700 feet at one point which is really quite impressive considering the warm nature of this storm.  This is in large part due to two atmospheric phenomena, wet bulbing and an isothermal layer.  

Wet bulbing occurs when precipitation falls through dry air. The precipitation evaporates and cools the air as it falls through the dry air like sweat on Randy Daytona.

Meanwhile an isothermal layer occurs when the temperature remains the same throughout a vertical layer of the atmosphere. For example the temperature above Incline Village was the same as it was at Verdi.  Today, the isothermal layer allowed snow levels to drop much lower than forecasted and gave motorists quite a surprise over Donner Pass.  

Below are some videos from Mt. Rose Summit this afternoon and the surf on Tahoe which a couple of surfers were taking advantage of.

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