Snow storm heads for Sierra bull’s-eye | SierraSun.com

Snow storm heads for Sierra bull’s-eye

David Bunker
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTed Torti reads a newspaper and enjoys a pleasant morning Wednesday at Heritage Plaza in Tahoe City. A cold, winter-like storm will sweep through the Tahoe region today and Friday, putting an end to the unseasonably balmy weather.
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The first significant snow storm of the season is expected to blow into Truckee and Tahoe today, leaving behind up to a foot of snow at lake level and up to 2 feet at higher elevations.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Tahoe area for this afternoon through Friday.

“[We] have a lot of confidence there will be a significant snow storm in the Sierra,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian F. O’Hara wrote in the afternoon forecast discussion on Wednesday.

Snow is expected to develop this morning and become heavy at times from this afternoon through Friday afternoon. By late Friday, accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected at lake level, and 1 to 2 feet above 7,000 feet.

The storm is coming from the Gulf of Alaska, and should bring cold temperatures and significant snow Thursday night, said Brian Brong, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Reno.

Forecasters are still unsure of the exact path of the storm, but say the storm is strong and large enough to dump snow on Truckee and Tahoe even if its course wavers.

“It’s looking like it could be a significant storm for the Sierra no matter where the low tracks,” Brong said in a phone interview.

For ski resorts that have been pumping out man-made snow to open slopes for the weekend ” the natural snow can’t arrive soon enough.

“We will open as much terrain as quickly as we possibly can,” said Greg Murtha, marketing manager for Sugar Bowl ski resort.

Sugar Bowl saw some of its 15-inch base of man-made snow melt slightly over the last couple warm days. But the new storm should bring new excitement about winter and new customers to the mountain, he said.

“In the last few days we’ve seen our Web traffic increase,” said Murtha “They’ve been waiting for winter to arrive.”

Cold Alaska air will settle into the area following the storm, with the chance for snow showers on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The jet stream is expected to move up into Alaska following the storm, a typical path for it during the La Nina weather cycle, said Brong.

Today’s high temperature is predicted to be 37 in Truckee and the Tahoe Basin, with 100 percent chance of snow today and tonight, tapering to 90 percent chance on Friday. A slight chance of snow continues into Saturday, when the low is predicted to hit a chilly 3 degrees.

Temperatures should rebound to near normal by Tuesday.