unedited 12-07 Tahoe Mt. News
Weather experts predict white winter
By Kathryn Reed
Accurately predicting snowfall takes science and luck.
Forecasters get paid big bucks to study weather patterns, look at the past and come up with the future. Folks at the Farmers’ Almanac have been doing it for years. Punxsutawney Phil does it each February when he looks for his shadow.
We’ve turned to the National Weather Service in Reno to tell us how much white stuff to expect this winter. Officially, the Winter Solstice is Dec. 22.
The Reno weather gurus often use Tahoe City to make estimates for the entire basin. Elevation makes a difference in exact accumulation.
“Looking back at snowfall data since the early ’60s between November and April, it would appear that we can expect a significant amount more than last winter,” said Shane Snyder, NWS meteorologist.
Most remember last year’s unspectacular winter. Between November 2006 and April 2007 120 inches fell.
“In a comparison of five other cases back to the early ’60s that are similar to the expected large scale pattern this winter, Tahoe City received between 210-250 inches of snowfall. The overall average snowfall for Tahoe City since 1917 in any given year is 189 inches,” Snyder said.
In other words, the National Weather Service is calling for between 110-130 percent of average snowfall this year.
The winter of 1994-95 had 334 inches in Tahoe City.
“I wouldn't expect that, but it certainly would be excellent for the ski areas,” Snyder said.