Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ramping Up

Tic-Tic-Tic-Tic-Tic, the clock is ticking...

The Tahoe Sierra WeatherSphere is all abuzz due to the approaching "Significant Winter Storm"

Here in the Inland Valley, I've been closely following the storm's progress since the Boss called Sunday.

I must say that given what the Real WeatherGuys are saying in their AFD's, I'm not as impressed as the TV Weather Readers...not yet anyway.

Let's remember that there's at least a moderate La Niña holding forth over the Eastern Pacific, and that the models that the NWS Forecasters rely on are a little less than stellar performers during La Niña Events.

Just to sweeten the Uncertainty Pot, remember also that the PDO has entered the negative phase (Cold Side) and that these models were developed during the Positive Phase of the PDO (Warm Side).

Finally, remember that winter storms often split in two as they come ashore when La Niña rules the roost. The split gives the models and the forecasters who run them fits...and the groomers trying to plan for a tidy opening on their respective mountains.

I remember the last La Niña Winter, and all the times a storm would hammer it's way onshore only to miss the Sierra Crest entirely! Meanwhile, the Big Valley and Foothills got pounded while the storm's energy and moisture would track Northeast as the storm center drifted Southward until it petered out leaving my Mountain high and dry once again.

That my friends is the recipe for disappointment and frustration on a ski hill.

So, here we are 48 hours from the storm's first arrival in the Tahoe Sierra, and as yet no Winter Storm Warning has been issued. The forecasters haven't seen what they need to call that yet. Timing and moisture factors are still iffy. The frigid air behind the front will make snowmakers happy all next week...and the resort operators.

There's been a lot of buzz about 2-4 feet of snowfall above 7000ft, but if you look inside the numbers, you'll see that the snow will be very dry. There's gonna be plenty of wind with the front so a couple of feet of champagne powder will be blown into the trees and drifting up alongside trails and terrain.

Two, three, feet of that wind-swept super-dry on bare ground? Don't go there...

The good news is the temps, once the front passes, will make around the clock snowmaking a reality for most of the week.

Thanksgiving skiing looks like a GO from my vantage point. The Ancestral Digs' turkey is thawing and I'll be serving the feast up this Saturday.

I'll enjoy the last leftover turkey sandwich for lunch on my first shift behind the sticks of my faithful old BR350...Whoa Nellie!

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