Was the surprising amount of snow that hit Lake Tahoe on Saturday afternoon a signal from Mother Nature that this will be a big year for snowfall?
Unseasonably cold temperatures turned from rain to snow in Lake Tahoe, which caused the first chain control alert on westbound Interstate 80 over Donner Summit since last spring.
The early snowfall was a pleasant surprise. But what does it really mean? Even meteorologist experts don’t have a definitive answer.
After two straight years of mild snowfall, hopes are high for a snowier Lake Tahoe winter season this year.
According to snowfall tracker used by Squaw Valley, it snowed 183 inches at 6,200 feet and 326 inches at 8,200 feet in 2012-13 ski season.
In 2011-12, there were 182.5 inches and 355 inches of accumulated snow. The average yearly snowfall for Lake Tahoe is 430 inches.
The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting above-normal snowfall and below-normal temperatures for most of the 2013-14 winter in the United States.
The Almanac’s prediction is based on a decline in solar activity combined with ocean-atmosphere patterns. For California and Nevada, the Almanac predicts a cool winter with near-normal precipitation.
Rob Guarino, a Reno professional meteorologist and long-range forecaster, predicts above-average snowfall and below-normal temperatures at Squaw Valley this winter. He forecasts about 500 inches of snowfall for the season, with February being the snowiest month and January the coldest.
However, even meteorologist will admit that making a forecast months in advance is difficult, especially for an area such as Lake Tahoe, with its varying elevations and lakes making it “all the more complicated.”
Veteran weather watchers know they have no control over what happens this winter, but believe it doesn’t hurt to send out positive vibes.
So think SNOW!