Cold front bringing wind, snow to area
Satellite imagery and computer forecast models are now indicating a fairly strong but fast-moving cold front will push across the Lake Tahoe area this afternoon and evening.
South to Southwest winds are expected to increase throughout the day to around 20 to 30 mph and gusts to 45 mph in wind prone area by afternoon. Southwest winds up to 80 mph are forecast along the Sierra crest today and tonight. Daytime temperatures will cool into the mid and upper 50s this afternoon ahead of the approaching cold front with further cooling into the upper 40s to lower 50s on Saturday with northerly winds 10 to 20 mph in the post frontal air mass.
Look for rain and snow to develop along the Sierra crest this afternoon becoming most intense this evening along the cold front. Snow levels are expected to start out around 7000 feet this afternoon then lower quickly to lake level or around 6000 feet by evening. Snow is forecast to taper off to flurries after midnight with clearing on Saturday. Models are indicating around .15 in of precipitation in the Tahoe basin with up to .40 in, in the high elevations by early Saturday morning. This would translate to around an inch of snow mostly on the grassy areas at lake level and 2 to 4 inches at the mountain passes or above 7000 feet. Much of this snow should melt as it hits the relatively warm pavement however visibilities could be restricted during the more intense snow fall Friday evening. If you are planning to travel Friday evening check the latest road conditions before departing.
Temperatures are forecast to warm back into the mid 60s around the Lake Sunday afternoon. Southwest winds will pick up to around 15 to 30 mph Sunday afternoon ahead of the next cold front brushing across the area Monday morning.
Monday’s frontal system looks to be tracking a little further north and should be past the region by afternoon. Beyond Monday the jet stream or storm track stays across the Pacific Northwest bringing heavy rain to Washington but dry and mild conditions across the Tahoe area with temperatures near seasonal normal for the remainder of the week.
Some of the longer range computer models are suggesting another low pressure trough developing over the western U.S. toward the end of next week which would not be out of character with our current unsettled fall weather pattern.
— Tom Cylke is a retired meteorologist having forecasted weather in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area with the National Weather Service since 1974. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.