Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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Dreaming of a White Christmas

Get stoked because pre Christmas powder is coming!!! We have a storm coming to the region Friday and into Saturday. It will start raining/snowing Friday morning, but the snow levels will drop quickly. Snow levels will fall below lake level and Reno should see some snow Friday night into Saturday.

Quick Hit Forecast

  • 1-2 feet of snow at lake level and around the bases of most resorts
  • 2-4 feet of snow above 7000 ft, but not a great 'spillover' event so lower totals for Mt. Rose and Heavenly 
  • It's a colder storm so water content of the snow will be lower, which means more powder and less Sierra Cement

Here's another lovely snow forecast map from our NWS Reno friends. We are slightly more bullish than them on forecast snow totals, which I explain a little further down.

The ensemble models agree we are going to get a good dose of powder and model spread has 15-30" of forecast snow at the Central Sierra Snow Lab (@6,950') with a mean of 24".

We do have a nice moisture stream coming off the Pacific and with the core of a strong trough passing just to the south of Tahoe, ample cold air is available to make copious amounts of snowflakes. There are forecast temperatures of -10 to -15C (5-14F) at 700 mb (~9000-10000') Friday and Saturday!

As I said earlier, we are a little bullish on forecast snowfall totals because of the instability in the vertical temperature profile especially in the dendrite (nerd term for snowflakes) formation region. We should see some convective elements in this storm, which always increases snowfall rates. And it's not out of the question to hear a few rumbles of thunder Friday afternoon through Saturday morning.

It's a relief we don't have to worry about snow levels with this storm. Maybe now that we've officially hit winter, we are getting 'winter' storms! So enjoy friends, family, and powder on this lovely Christmas weekend!

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