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Last storm at Tahoe.

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Last storm at Tahoe.

Postby JM21760 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:42 pm

Jeff Munson, jmunson@tahoedailytribune.com
January 16, 2006

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It can be said that Saturday's storm that brought 16 inches of snow to South Lake Tahoe exceeded all expectations.

Some could go as far as to call Saturday's event a freak of nature or an anomaly.

Whatever it was, it wasn't on the National Weather Service radar as being significant enough to issue a winter storm warning.



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South Lake Tahoe fire and police units respond to a two-vehicle accident on Pioneer Trail on Saturday afternoon. Two people were injured and transported by ambulance to Barton Memorial Hospital.

That's because slivers of the weather system - considered weak by weather service standards - turned into thunderstorms on the West Slope that strengthened as they made their way into the Sierra, according to Simon Smith, a South Lake Tahoe weather spotter and co-op forecaster for the Reno-based weather service.

"It was a little unexpected. Computer models didn't indicate it, but once those thunderstorms develop, you run into the possibility of intense snow squalls out of it," Smith said.

In fact there were three such bands of the main storm that hit a swath of South Shore before they traversed into Carson Valley and Carson City, dumping about four inches of snow on the valley floor.



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Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Dave Parrent and his 8-year-old daughter, Nicole Sinou-Parrent, take advantage of the fresh snow for a sled ride in front of their home on Saturday afternoon.

The weather service, which is usually on target with predicting storms, didn't see this one coming. It issued a "snow advisory" through 10 p.m. Saturday rather than a winter storm warning. The advisory called for 2 to 4 inches of snow at South Lake Tahoe.

"We didn't believe it met warning criteria," said Rudy Cruz, a meteorologist for the weather service.

Other totals from around the lake weren't as impressive. Nine inches of snow was reported at the Truckee Tahoe Airport, while six inches fell at Tahoe City.

South Shore ski areas in particular received the brunt of the snow, with Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe getting anywhere from 24 to 30 inches out of it.

"I left last night and they had plowed the parking lot, and when I came back this morning, another foot had fallen," said Blaise Carrig, chief operating officer at Heavenly.

Although winds were gusty at times on Saturday, none of the resorts closed because of the weather. Sunday was near picture-perfect, with blue skies and plenty of powder.

With 24 to 30 inches of snow "it's really beautiful up there today," Carrig said.

While the timing of the storm could have come a couple days earlier, Heavenly and other resorts reported brisk business over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, considered among the busiest ski weekends of the season.

For the third time in four years Heavenly played host to the National Brotherhood of Skiers, a group of more than 600 African American snow enthusiasts. Carrig said he went out on a few runs with the group Sunday morning.

Sierra-at-Tahoe received about 24 inches on the mountain Saturday. Festivities went on despite the weather, including the UC Berkeley marching band, which played for skiers and snowboarders in front of the base lodge.

"With the snow and the holiday, we couldn't have had it any better," said Sierra spokeswoman Nicole Klay.

Kirkwood received anywhere from 22 to 28 inches out of the storm.

The forecast calls for continued sunshine today, high in the 30s. Another storm is expected to make its way into the Sierra on Tuesday night, with the possibility of "significant snowfall" on Wednesday, Cruz said. Possible snowfall amounts were not available.

Looks like another good storm on the way as well! JM


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Postby JM21760 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:39 pm

.LONG TERM...THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY UPPER TROUGH MOVES EAST OF NEVADA THURSDAY WITH COOL SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE OVER NORTHERN CA INTO NORTHERN NV. THE SHORT WAVE UPPER RIDGE THAT DEVELOPS BEHIND THE TROUGH IS RATHER WEAK. OVERRUNNING MOISTURE WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP CLOUDS AROUND ALTHOUGH NO PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT. THE CLOUD COVER SHOULD HELP TO KEEP MINIMUM TEMPERATURES ABOVE NORMAL WHILE DAYTIME HIGHS REMAIN BELOW NORMAL. THE OPERATIONAL GFS BRINGS A COLD UPPER LOW DIRECTLY OVER THE RENO-LAKE TAHOE AREA SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY. THIS REMAINS STRONGER AND COLDER THAN ALL OTHER ENSEMBLE MEMBERS AND THE ECMWF...ALTHOUGH THE ENSEMBLES AND ECMWF DO SHOW TROUGHINESS OF VARYING STRENGTH DURING THAT TIME PERIOD. THERE WOULD BE HEAVY SNOW IN SIERRA AND SNOW IN WESTERN NV VALLEYS IF THE GFS VERIFIES.

This from Reno NWS for weekend of Jan. 21/22. Bring your 4X4's and powder snorkel! This is shaping up to be a pretty good winter, knock on wood.
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Postby copeg » Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:20 pm

I was up there yesterday and it looked like there was a good amount of snow that fell on Saturday.
I wasn't the only one with that idea - I left the bay area around 5am and got to Sugar Bowl at about 11:30 (normally a 3.5 hr drive) to find out that all the resorts were "sold out" (ie no more parking). I left my skins at home so touring wasn't an option, but found some space at Soda Springs to spend the afternoon on the slopes. Lesson learned - stear clear of day trips to Tahoe on holiday weekends just after it snowed and its a bluebird day (what was I thinking :retard: )
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Postby SSSdave » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:19 pm

Actually the NWS had been forecasting a possible decent cold storm for the Tahoe zone. But a day before it hit, the storm began to split and then the forecast expected most of the energy to go to SoCal and nw Cal. But the pool of cold air behind the front instead stalled off San Fran which allowed the cold air to work its stuff over the moist marine air and intensify. A large blob of precip in the cold pool moved over the Santa Cruz Mountains, lifted putting good rains in the evening where I'm at in the Santa Clara County, and then went northeast. Instead of the core sliding down the coast and then ejecting east, it went more northerly than expected so it was the South Tahoe areas that got the best goods instead of Mammoth.

Storms with good circulating pools of cold air that aren't being shoved along too fast by the jet stream and move against the Sierra with the right trajectory for lifting their embedded moist airmasses, sometimes provide excellent post frontal snows in the Sierra. Generally I tend to read the NWS raw forecast discussions instead of their filtered forecasts and study a number of satellite images. Those writing the discussions tend to use relative terms whereas submitted forecasts tend to just state the best prediction. Meteorologists make a lot of use out of several global weather system computer models. There are often considerable variations between models so what the meterologists end up predicting is an educated guess.

The coming midweek storm is a good example. Late last week they were predicting it might be larger than the one that came in Saturday night. Then models changed that to just a modest storm. Now the models are back to a stronger storm including a tap to some tropical air. Thus day to day models and accordingly forecasts often change. I'm hoping the Tuesday night storm comes in and dumps cold flakes. Thinking of driving up Tuesday night just before the cold air moves in and park overnight at the resort. Then Wednesday as the storm is waning, will storm ski fluff. If the storm is cold enough, may then drive down to Yosemite to work the valley Thursday.

...David
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Postby madeintahoe » Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:48 am

Saturdays snow storm was pretty good...we got about 1 1/2 foot of new snow from it here in Meyers at my house. It was a nice light and dry fluffy snow this time. Now I would not mind a few days of full sun :D
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Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:38 pm

I heard Mammoth got "fluffy dry" snow too! And I missed it! :(
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby JM21760 » Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:57 pm

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV
1145 AM PST TUE JAN 17 2006

...HEAVY SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS WILL BEGIN TO BUILD INTO THE SIERRA
THIS AFTERNOON...SPREADING INTO WESTERN NEVADA TUESDAY NIGHT AND
WEDNESDAY..

.A STRONG STORM IN THE GULF OF ALASKA WILL REACH THE NORTHERN
SIERRA THIS AFTERNOON. A COLD FRONT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS
STORM WILL PASS THROUGH WESTERN NEVADA ON TUESDAY NIGHT AND
WEDNESDAY. SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS WILL OCCUR OVER MUCH OF THE
REGION THROUGH WEDNESDAY.

IF YOU HAVE TRAVEL PLANS ON TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY BE PREPARED FOR
HAZARDOUS WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS. STAY TUNED FOR ADDITIONAL
STATEMENTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ON THIS DEVELOPING
SITUATION.

CAZ072-NVZ002-180645-
/O.CON.KREV.WS.W.0002.060118T0000Z-060119T0000Z/
GREATER LAKE TAHOE AREA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...SOUTH LAKE TAHOE...TAHOE CITY..
TRUCKEE...MARKLEEVILLE...GLENBROOK...INCLINE VILLAGE
1145 AM PST TUE JAN 17 2006

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS
AFTERNOON TO 4 PM PST WEDNESDAY..

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON
TO 4 PM PST WEDNESDAY.

SNOW WILL BEGIN TO MOVE INTO THE LAKE TAHOE AREA THIS
AFTERNOON...CONTINUING THROUGH WEDNESDAY AND ENDING BY WEDNESDAY
EVENING. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 10 TO 18 INCHES CAN BE
EXPECTED AT LAKE LEVEL...WITH 2 TO 3 FEET ABOVE 7000 FEET.

GUSTY WINDS ACCOMPANIED WITH THE SNOW WILL CREATE AREAS OF
BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY
AFTERNOON. WHITE OUT CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR OVER THE MOUNTAIN
PASSES AND OTHER EXPOSED UPPER ELEVATIONS...WHERE WINDS WILL GUST
IN EXCESS OF 100 MPH.

ROAD CONDITIONS IN THE SIERRA AND THE LAKE TAHOE BASIN WILL
BECOME VERY HAZARDOUS FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY.
AVOID UNNECESSARY TRAVEL UNTIL THE STORM HAS ENDED. IF DELAYING
TRAVEL IS NOT POSSIBLE THEN USE EXTREME CAUTION ON AREA ROADS.
SLOW DOWN AND CARRY TIRE CHAINS...FOOD.. WATER...BLANKETS AND A
FLASHLIGHT IN YOUR CAR IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Just an update. The wind here in Carson City is blasting tonight.
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