The waiting game begins

September 28, 2015 | Tim Hauserman

It’s time once again for the annual rite of autumn at Lake Tahoe. That lovely time of year when Tahoe folks all try to predict how much snow will blanket the Sierra mountains in the coming winter. When it comes to long term weather prognostication, we are all optimists. Since we all want (and these days need) lots of snow, we tend to point to whatever sources we can dig up that say that it will be a big winter, while disregarding the less sanguine predictions.

The reality is that for the most part, when it comes to long term meteorology, we are still in the dark ages. While the weather forecasters have made incredible strides in predicting weather over the next week or even two, over the next six months, all they can do is issue a SWAG: Scientific Wild Ass Guess.  Here is what we are hearing so far:

My favorite local weather source is Brian Allegretto from The Tahoe Daily Snow. He does his best to give an accurate forecast geared towards skiers, and he has been quite accurate over the last few years. Recently on his website he did a detailed analysis of all the different models. One model says it will be a big winter, one not so much. Allegretto summarizes it all by saying:

“We are leaning towards better than a 50/50 chance we have above average precip.  The majority of climate models have above average precip and so do ours.  Plus history is on our side. The climate models for the Fall continue to show average or even below average precip through December.  Historically in strong El Nino events we see above average snowfall in November, but that is not showing up yet…right now the expectation is that the above average precip for CA will occur Jan-Mar.”

In other words, we are doing our best, but who the heck knows. I’m also leaning on the Back of the Fanny Bridge 100 Year Lake Level Chart method. Over the last 100 years the lake level has gone up and down like a sprinters heart beat…so after three years of drought it is time for that heart to beat again.