Lake Tahoe weather: More El Niño-influenced storms set for weekend
January 29, 2016
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — It's no longer a question of if it comes, but how it comes.
With more El Niño-influenced weather on its way, the Lake Tahoe Basin is once again on track to receive back-to-back weekend storms starting Friday, Jan. 29. Warmer temperatures are expected to keep the snow at higher elevations until late Friday night.
"The jet stream is going to take direct aim at us," OpenSnow.com Tahoe region forecaster Bryan Allegretto said Thursday, describing what forecasters are calling an "atmospheric river" weather pattern coming from the Pacific Ocean.
The storm system may deliver up to three feet of snow at higher elevations along the Sierra Crest through the weekend.
"I think Kirkwood is going to be the big winner here," Allegretto said. "They're taller and further south; that should help."
While the Friday/Saturday storm is expected to impact the entire Tahoe Basin, the system behind it may pass farther south.
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Reached for comment regarding the second weather system, Reno-based National Weather Service forecaster Scott McGuire said, "No matter what, I think our confidence is pretty high that Tahoe will be on the northern fringe of it."
The weather pattern could shift to bring more of the storm to the region, but early forecasts are saying it could pass to the south.
Predictions for Sunday, Jan. 31, are calling for 3-8 inches at lake level.
"It's going to be highly dependent on how far south that system comes in," McGuire explained.
"We're right on that northern edge," Allegretto said of the second system. "We'll have to keep an eye on that."
With Friday's storm, snow levels are expected to stay at above 8,000 feet during the day before dropping to lake level by early Saturday morning.
"The first system is definitely going to be that classic Sierra-cement type of snow," McGuire said. "The second system is quite a bit colder."
Cold temperatures are expected to remain in the region into next week.
"The snow should be a lot lighter on Saturday," Allegretto said of changing snow density overnight. "It's going to be thick Friday night."
Considering conditions, Allegretto suggested that Sunday might be the better ski day.
"The winds will probably still be pretty strong Saturday," he explained. "Sunday should be much calmer winds and Monday the sun will come out."