Saturday, March 14, 2015

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Warm, Cloudy, and Possibly a Few Showers

Above normal temperatures will continue for much of the western U.S. with no real end in site. The plot below shows the temperature for the last 7 days at the Reno UNR weather station. We've been in the upper 60's and low 70's for the last week which is well above the normal for this time year, about 57-60 F.

You'll notice that we have had several nights with very warm lows, around 50 F. These warm nights coincide nicely with the incoming longwave radiation plot below. This is due to the abundant cloud cover, which absorbs shortwave radiation, and then emits longwave radiation towards the surface (throughout the night), keeping things much warmer than clear sky nights.

Today's clouds are due to an active, mostly meridional (south to north orientation), jet stream off the CA coast that is directed at the Pacific Northwest region. The storm shows up nicely on satellite, with a stream of moisture extending from the tropics.

Unfortunately, the main impacts for the Sierra will be strong winds tonight and tomorrow, with a few very light showers possible tomorrow. You can see that we are on the southern edge of a fairly strong 700 mb (~10,000 ft level) jet core by 18Z (10:00 AM) tomorrow morning. 
We will remain in this type of pattern for several days, with plenty of clouds, warm temps, and a better possibility of some showers (high snow level) by Tuesday or Wednesday, according to the GFS. Even if this does pan out, it won't do much for our snow pack. Get some turns while there is still snow, or do like many have already done, and make the transition to summer activities! No signs of a March Miracle at this point.

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