Above average snowfall forecasted for parts of Tahoe Basin | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Above average snowfall forecasted for parts of Tahoe Basin

Claire Cudahy
A skier makes a turn while taking in Lake Tahoe at Heavenly Mountain Resort, one of the ski destinations reported to see above average snowfall this winter.
Courtesy Matt Gibson / Tahoe South |

It’s not too early to get excited about snow is it? No, we didn’t think so.

And according to meteorologist and mountain weather expert Chris Tomer, it is something to get excited about since the Lake Tahoe area can expect above average snowfall in certain parts of the Basin this winter.

This is welcome news after the 2015 State of the Lake Report, released in July, presented a grim picture of this past winter in the Tahoe Basin.

While precipitation was near average, only 6.5 percent of it fell as snow and only 24 days had below-freezing average air temperatures — both record lows.

“We dealt with El Niño last winter, and we are seeing a transition over to La Niña, which is basically the opposite. It has to do with the water temperature in the South Pacific, which is much cooler than last winter,” explained Tomer.

“Ultimately it effects the position of the jet stream in winter and that determines who gets the heavy snow.”

Tomer — who has forecasted for more than 50 mountaineering and skiing expeditions across the globe over the last 10 years — said that in the past La Niña set up favorable winters in the Pacific Northwest as well as the Lake Tahoe area.

“I’m forecasting for Lake Tahoe roughly 350-400 inches,” reported Tomer. “ And toward the end of the season certain areas may be five to eight percent above normal.”

According to Tomer, the ski resorts close to the lake are likely to see good snow.

“Heavenly, Squaw, Sierra-at-Tahoe, dropping down to Northstar, then you start to really get on the margins,” said Tomer.

“I’m not confident with Kirkwood and down to Mammoth. Certainly the resorts tucked in close to the lake will do well and all the way up to Shasta and the Pacific Northwest.”

Other big winners outside of the Basin in terms of above average snowfall include Mount Baker, Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Mount Bachelor, Whistler, Lake Louise, Schweitzer, Sun Valley, Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Discovery, Whitefish, Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, Steamboat and Buffalo Pass.

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