Lake Tahoe weather: Farmers almanacs predicting warm 2016-17 winter |

Lake Tahoe weather: Farmers almanacs predicting warm 2016-17 winter

A snowboarder enjoys powder turns the week of Christmas 2015 at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. The 2015-16 season saw solid snowfall totals for the Tahoe region. Will it repeat itself this year?
Courtesy Billy Jesberg / Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Brace yourself. Winter is coming. Whether it will be a snowy one, however, remains to be seen.

With the school year beginning and summer drawing to a close, traditional weather forecasters have started to release preliminary information on what kind of winter conditions may be expected for the 2016-17 season.

Last week, the Old Farmer’s Almanac released its annual winter weather prediction, which forecasts “above normal” temperatures and “a bit below normal” precipitation.

It also says that snowfall will be above average in the north and below average in the south — the Sierra Nevada is considered to be in the southern part of this forecast area.

But don’t worry. If you decide the Old Farmer’s Almanac isn’t credible, there’s always the other Farmers’ Almanac, which actually says on its homepage in large font, “It’s Baaaack! (C)Old Man Winter Returns!”

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, which also recently released its 2016-17 winter forecast, “While last winter was a reprieve from shoveling and high fuel bills, the party is over. According to the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac, ‘winter is back!”

However, a closer look shows even these forecasters aren’t so sure if that’s true for the Lake Tahoe region. Despite headings within the forecast that are titled, “Skiers Rejoice!” and “Downright Frigid February,” the authors are not forecasting much snow for the Sierra.

Instead, they’re predicting that, “milder-than-normal temperatures will prevail over the Western States.”

Michelle Breckner, Service Climatologist for the Western Regional Climate Center, said that right now, the Sierra Nevada is in La Niña, which is the opposite end of the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle.

El Niño is typically associated with colder temperatures, while La Niña is associated with higher temperatures. But that isn’t always the case.

“For the Sierra, usually that means it can go either way, but usually drier and warmer,” Breckner said in an interview this week.

A 3-month outlook published by the National Weather Service on Aug. 18 shows the Sierra Nevada region is expected to see below-average precipitation and above average temperatures between now and November.

Acting Director of Public Affairs for the National Weather Service Susan Buchanan, meanwhile, said that more accurate information would be available when the official U.S. Winter Outlook is published on Oct. 20.

In the meantime, visit for daily and short-term forecasts for the Sierra Nevada region.

Two different almanacs

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts weather based on a solar activity and ocean-atmosphere patterns. This year marks the 225th edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which was first published in 1792 (during George Washington’s first term as president). It is North America’s oldest continuously published periodical, coming out every year in September.

Visit to read about its 2016-17 winter forecast.

The Farmers’ Almanac, meanwhile, was first published in 1818 (when James Monroe was in office). Its staff boasts that each year, their almanac “provides amazingly accurate long-range weather predictions (for both the US and Canada).”

Visit to read about its 2016-17 weather forecast.

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