Another round of winter |

Another round of winter

Simon Smith

High winds buffet the grass and bushes Tuesday morning. / Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Blustery and unseasonably cold is the best way to sum up today’s forecast. Sunshine and patchy clouds with a few snow showers will combine with gusty winds to make it feel more like late March than early June. Winds will be westerly in the 10 to 20 mph range with stronger gusts possible. High temperatures today will struggle to reach the upper 40s to lower 50s around the lake, with 30s at the higher elevations. Expect widespread freezing conditions tonight with lows in the mid 20s to lower 30s.

So why do we seem to get more cold storms during the spring months but have long stretches sometimes during the winter with no storms? The answer has to do with the heating and cooling of the North American continent and the oceans. During winter months, the continent is much colder than the surrounding oceans and therefore supports a huge area of lower pressure centered around 18,000 feet near Hudson Bay in Canada, which is commonly referred to the Hudson Bay low, while over the eastern Pacific, upper-level high pressure is found.

During the spring months, the continent begins to warm and the Hudson Bay low weakens and is replaced by higher pressure with corresponding lower pressure over the Pacific, thus giving the winter-like storms a greater opportunity to impact our area until higher pressure establishes itself over the western states in late June or July. This upper-level high causes the circulation over the West that is commonly referred to as the summer monsoon season with afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

With that being said, enjoy this last round of cold weather, as summer will likely soon reappear.

– Simon Smith can be reached at