Weather officals make winter predictions for Lake Tahoe | RecordCourier.com

Weather officals make winter predictions for Lake Tahoe

by Laney Griffo
lgriffo@tahoedailytribune.com
A view from Heavenly Mountain Resort.
Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Temperatures have dropped and Lake Tahoe has had its first snowfall.

Winter-like weather has made its regular appearance about this time of year and gets everyone thinking, what might we be in store for this year?

After last year’s unpredictably massive winter, will we have a repeat? Will we be left staring at snow-less mountains? Somewhere in between?

Even with fire season in full-swing, weather predictions for this winter have already appeared.

The verdict: people need to strap in for a wild ride, as The Farmer’s Almanac has dubbed winter 2020, “The Polar Coaster.”

“Temperatures on the thermometer will be up and down in most of the country,” said Farmer’s Almanac editor, Sandi Duncan.

We’re already seeing that with the first snow of the season on Sept. 10 followed by a warm weekend. Snow appeared again, all around the lake on Sept. 16. According to the Tahoe Fund, this is the earliest there’s been snow in the past five years.

Real winter could possibly be off to a slow start, though. Both The Farmer’s Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac are calling for a wet October but no big snowstorms until January.

“There won’t be any big snow events in November and December,” said Sarah Perreault, editor for Old Farmer’s Almanac. “There will be some snow but nothing to write about.”

Farmer’s Almanac does predict a little snow in November.

“(Our) region has a good chance of the first snow in early November,” Duncan said.

Accuweather.com also calls for some snow in early November, although at this point, they only have predictions about until mid-November.

Every little bit of snow helps ski resorts that try to open as soon as possible.

Mt. Rose added 17 new snowmaking towers last summer, meaning they’ll likely make their targeted opening date, Oct. 25.

Heavenly has set Nov. 22 as their targeted opening date. They have snowmaking capabilities to cover 60% of their trails.

Even with snowmaking capabilities, nothing beats the experiencing of skiing in fresh, natural snow.

Skies and snowboarders will have to patiently wait until the end of January, when Duncan says we’re due for a big snowstorm. The long wait for snow may be good news for people who got tired of shoveling their driveways last winter.

The National Weather Service is not ready to make their predictions but some preliminary weather maps the website has released are saying our region can expect average precipitation throughout the winter.

One thing both almanacs agree on, even without snow, we are due for some cooler than normal temperatures.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which has been around since 1792 and boasts an 80% accuracy rate, says December is going to one of the colder months this winter, followed by March.

That could mean some great spring skiing this season. Both Perreault and Duncan say spring will start fairly late this year.

Duncan said there could be a storm in early April and Perreault said not to expect warmer temperatures until May.

In the meantime, we must get through fire-season.

Duncan says the rest of September will be dry and windy making the fire risk rise. However, with October being damp, she said, “hopefully it won’t be as bad of a fire season.”

Meteorologists Chris Smallcomb with the National Weather Service Reno warns us that “anything is possible,” a lesson we all learned from last winter.

“There is just limitations of science,” Smallcomb said when it comes to accurately predicting the weather.