Blizzard coming? Only if we’re lucky …
November 17, 2009
LAKE TAHOE – The first big storm of the season is shaping up to be a fickle one.
What was expected to take a long, productive pass across the Sierra later this week now appears to be a faster-moving storm hitting Friday and snowing through Friday night. The National Weather Service is expecting about six inches of snow from this storm at lake level, with around a foot in the higher mountains.
“It has been a pretty uncertain storm, so things could change,” said Chris Jordan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno. “Unfortunately it looks like it’s going to be pretty fast moving right now.”
Original forecasts had the storm hitting Thursday night, and dumping one to two feet of snow at lake level, with several feet expected in higher-elevation areas.
Jordan said the storm should come in with high winds and dropping temperatures from the Pacific on Friday afternoon, dropping down from the Golf of Alaska.
“We may get into the low 40s in Truckee but it will cool off fast,” Jordan said.
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The overnight low Friday will drop into the low 20s, he said.
Winds coming from the southwest will blow between 25 and 30 mph, with 100 mph gusts over the high ridges, making for potentially tricky conditions on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and on other high pass roads, Jordan said.
With the expected cold temperatures, as much as 18 inches of snow could fall on some of the area’s tallest peaks, Jordan said.
Another fast moving storm expected Saturday evening could drop another few inches of snow, Jordan said, keeping the area cold through the weekend.
Looking deeper into winter’s crystal ball, El Nino is expected to sit at a “moderate” level for much of the winter, meaning higher than normal precipitation, but also higher than normal temperatures, Jordan said.
That means potentially more snow, but with snow lines at potentially higher elevations, he said.
“The majority of El Nino’s effects are after December – more like January or February,” Jordan said.