Winter 2017 El Nino or La Nina for Lake Tahoe Area?

Will 2017-18 Tahoe ski season bring another epic powder winter like last year’s? Will this ski season be an el nino or la nina season for the Lake Tahoe region?

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The 2016-17 winter season for the Lake Tahoe area brought a new record of 650 inches of snow totals recorded at Mt Rose ski resort. How much snow dumped in any single day last season? Tying for first place with 48 inches of snow in one day snowfall record on Jan 11, 2017 were: Kirkwood Mountain, Heavenly Mountain, and Donner Ski Ranch. 

Is there such a thing as too much snow?

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According to a October 12, 2017 report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service indicates that there is an increasing chance (~55-65%) of La Niña during the Northern Hemisphere for fall and winter of 2017-18.

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WHAT DOES LA NIÑA MEAN FOR TAHOE?

 
LA NIÑA usually means a “neutral” weather outlook for Tahoe (past couple ones have been average snow years), higher than normal precipitation for PNW, and below normal precipitation for Southern California (SoCal). The wet storms paste snow onto the rocks, which makes the base good.

Those who are powder hounds: consider some side powder trips to the Mt. Baker area, Whistler or Jackson Hole for snowfall powder galore winter for these ski resort areas.

During September, ENSO-neutral conditions were reflected in near-to-below average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across most of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. The weekly Niño indices were volatile during the month, with negative values increasing to near zero during the past week in the Niño-4, Niño-3.4, and Niño-3 regions. In contrast, sub-surface temperature anomalies were increasingly negative during September, reflecting the shallow depth of the thermocline across the central and eastern Pacific. Also, convection was suppressed near the International Date Line and enhanced near Indonesia. Over the western equatorial Pacific Ocean, low-level trade winds were anomalously easterly and upper-level winds were anomalously westerly. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system remains consistent with ENSO-neutral, although edging closer to La Niña conditions.

For the upcoming Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2017-18, a weak La Niña is favored in the dynamical model averages of the IRI/CPC plume and North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME). Several models indicate a period of near-average Niño-3.4 values in the upcoming weeks, but then predict reinvigorated growth of negative SST anomalies across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These forecasts are supported by the ongoing easterly wind anomalies across portions of the Pacific Ocean and the reservoir of below-average subsurface temperatures. In summary, La Niña conditions are favored (~55-65%) during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2017-18.

This discussion is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts are also updated monthly in the Forecast Forum of CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. Additional perspectives and analysis are also available in an ENSO blog. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 09 November 2017.” – NOAA

Read more about the 2017-18 Lake Tahoe Area Forecast..

1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service

2. OpenSnow – Snow & Powder Forecasts for Tahoe

3. SnowBrians 2017-2018 Winter Forecast

The Climate Prediction Center defines. . .

“El Niño conditions” as existing when:

A one-month positive sea surface temperature anomaly of 0.5C or greater is observed in the Niño-3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (5oN-5oS, 120oW-170oW) and an expectation that the 3-month Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) threshold will be met AND

An atmospheric response typically associated with El Niño is observed over the equatorial Pacific Ocean (see The ENSO Cycle).

“La Niña conditions” as existing when:

A one-month negative sea surface temperature anomaly of -0.5C or less is observed in the Niño-3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (5oN-5oS, 120oW-170oW) and an expectation that the 3-month Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) threshold will be met AND

An atmospheric response typically associated with La Niña is observed over the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

UPCOMING...

+ Check out our upcoming ski and snowboard preseason kick-off parties with door prize raffle giveaway

+ Watch a ski n ride movie screening and score lift tickets

+ ENJOY FOUR HOURS of wine and beer tasting plus free lift tickets; get 1`/2 off SNOWBOMB SKI SNOWBOARD FESTIVAL SHOW TICKETS

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