Will potential La Nina lead to another epic winter for Lake Tahoe? | SierraSun.com

Will potential La Nina lead to another epic winter for Lake Tahoe?

Adam Jensen
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Mark McLaughlin / Submitted PhotoTop-to-bottom snow cover is seen at Soda Springs Mountain Resort on June 12, 2011, after an epic winter left near-record snowfall in the region.
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LAKE TAHOE and#8212; Last yearand#8217;s La Nina led to a seemingly endless winter.

And the climate pattern may be gearing up for a return this year, but that doesnand#8217;t guarantee similar results when it comes to snowfall.

On Aug. 4, the National Climate Prediction Center issued a La Nina Watch after computer models showed the weather pattern has a 50 percent chance of redeveloping during the fall.

A La Nina Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of La Nina conditions and#8220;within the next six months,and#8221; according to the National Weather Service.

La Nina is associated with cooler than normal water in the Pacific Ocean along the equator. The weather pattern typically leads to colder and wetter weather in the Pacific northwest and drier and warmer weather in the southern United States, including Southern California.

But, because Lake Tahoe sits on the border between La Ninaand#8217;s typically wetter north and typically drier south, its anyoneand#8217;s guess as to the effects of the weather pattern on the area, said David Myrick, a science and operations officer for the National Weather Service in Reno.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s kind of an equal chances situation for us here,and#8221; Myrick said.

Neutral conditions, in which neither La Nina or a El Nino conditions exist, were present in the Pacific as of early August, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

In the winter of 2010-11, the Pacific Ocean experienced a moderate La Nina and California experienced near record snowfall.

The amount of water in the Lake Tahoe Basin was 208 percent of the May 1 average, according to data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Climate Prediction Center notes a historical tendency for significant wintertime La Nina episodes to be followed by relatively weaker episodes the following winter.

How the weather pattern plays into the upcoming winter season all depends on how storms track across the Sierra Nevada, Myrick said.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s still too far out,and#8221; Myrick said. and#8220;Weand#8217;ll just have to wait and see.and#8221;