Touch of snow in the forecast |

Touch of snow in the forecast

Patrick McCartney

The Tahoe Basin should be swept by a few weak storms over the next several days, with the best chance of snow on Saturday.

Clear nights earlier this week allowed nighttime temperatures to drop, with the low at the Lake Tahoe Airport reaching 13 on Tuesday and 14 on Wednesday.

But clouds moving ahead of a frontal system Wednesday should keep nighttime lows warmer over the next several days. With a blanket of clouds preventing warm air radiating away, lows should be in the high 20s the next few nights. Highs are expected to stay in the 40s.

A cut-off low-pressure system in the Pacific will spin off two frontal systems, one expected to arrive last night and the other tonight and Friday. Scattered snow showers may dust the basin before skies clear again, said Larry Osterman, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Reno.

The best chance of showers will come Saturday and Sunday, when the low-pressure system moves on shore, he said. However, Osterman added that the brunt of the storm may push onshore south of Lake Tahoe.

Responding to a letter writer in the Tahoe Daily Tribune, National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Armstrong said the height of cloud tops is not a good predictor for how strong storms will be in the Sierra.

“Some storms with low cloud tops turn out to be the wettest,” Armstrong said. “Two other measures – the amount of moisture in a storm and the lifting mechanism – are more important. Orthographic lifting (when air currents rise over the mountains) and a storm’s dynamics account for most of the lift in a storm.”

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