Winter Wonderings… in October

I have been asked by a dozen people or so the last couple of months what I think the winter will bring…

Typically I answer this query with the standard protocol of: “There are two kinds of people that predict the weather at Mt. Rose, newcomers and fools.”  and leave it at that. This winter is different however (and perhaps I have just moved solidly into the “fool” category). Looking at all the available intel it certainly looks like starting in December we have a good chance of some major precipitation if it all pans out. So, I have decided to answer the question with just a picture. Since I live at 7640 feet, I think the photo is worth a thousand words…

And even if I am wrong… at least “hope” is better than despair.



September El Nino Report

Our friends at Weather West continue to watch the current warm ocean temps in the North Pacific as well as the still building El Nino with increasing confidence that this winter will not be like the last few and that we are on tap for some big precip. The only question at this point seems to be where the snow line might fall. With all the warm energy off our coast right now meteorologists are leaning toward a quite warm scenario meaning higher snow levels. The latest guidance is showing the waters in both the Southern and Northern Pacific are continuing to warm leading some to speculate that this could be a “winter to remember”.



Above is the probability curve for continuing El Nino currents to continue. As one can see it is very likely that the current El Nino will be at its peak from December to March of this winter coinciding with our typical snowiest months.


As one can see, unlike last winter when the El Nino retreated into obscurity during last winter, this year  we are far ahead and still building.


As one can clearly see, the El Nino plume has intensified and the extremely warm water off our coast has remained in record highs off the coast of California and Baha. Although no one is really sure how this hot water off our coast might affect our chances for El Nino, most believe it will work to intensify the warmth and storminess such an El Nino would already bring. Again, snow levels will the tricky thing here…

Regardless, the outlook is very much improved for this winter. It does come with a caveat though, our autumn may be warmer and not too wet until December according to a three month forecast just out.

Thanks for tuning in! You will be waxing them up soon!




Game On!

Our friends at Tahoe Weather Blog have just released a graphic showing we are on tap to have one of the largest El Nino’s on record this year. Some are saying the blob of warm East Pacific ocean temps off our coast may even intensify the El Nino effect. If this be true we will certainly have to batten down the hatches. All indications are on track for a winter to remember (so far so good).


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Are we in “hot water”?

If you hadn’t noticed… this summer so far has included some pretty unusual weather, lots of lightning, cloud cover, tropical storms, remnants of hurricanes, the most Flood Watches we have ever seen in the Sierra and three days of the hardest rain SoCal has ever seen in July. In one three day period in July San Diego received more rain than in all the hundred July’s preceding it all put together. So, yes, we can unequivocally say that this summer has presented some really strange weather for us Westerners used to a 3 to 5 month summer drought.

The culprits are most notably extreme record setting ocean temps in the Eastern Pacific off the coasts of the US and Mexico. As Heat equals Energy, meteorologically speaking, this record setting heat has helped Low Pressure systems move North after forming near Mexico or in SoCal bringing us more cloud cover, rain and lightning than normal.

Record setting ocean temps off the entire West Coast of North America are leading to some unusual summer weather

Record setting ocean temps off the entire West Coast of North America are leading to some unusual summer weather

As these ocean temps seem to continue to build into record highs meteorologists like Daniel Swain from Stanford believe these conditions will continue to siphon up tropical monsoonal moisture into our area for the remainder of the summer and early fall. Dry NW and wet South is typical of large El Nino years as well and as lawns die in Portland due to lack of rain and no sprinkler systems I believe we are probably already seeing the effects of El Nino this summer.

As El Nino continues to strengthen the odds of a wetter than normal winter grow daily.

As El Nino continues to strengthen the odds of a wetter than normal winter grow daily.

The one caveat to all this… how the incredibly warm temps off our coast will interact with El Nino. At this point, since we are in tabula rasa, no one can really say. As David Swain said so eloquently a few weeks ago… we might be in for a very wild ride this winter!

To check out Daniel’s latest post go to:


Weather News…

Unlike last year, El Nino continues to intensify leading some forecasters to make parallels with the 97/98 season, which was a big one for us. What Daniel Swain is saying however is that we have never experienced an El Nino with the Eastern Pacific ocean temps this anomalously hot from Alaska to Peru. The effects of such warm temps in conjunction with what appears to be a potentially strong El Nino puts us in new territory. Swain, a Stanford Ph.D. candidate and weather guru and chief correspondent for is calling for us to hold on to our hats if El Nino continues to warm and Eastern Pacific temps hold or continue to push into record breaking territory. We could be in for a wild winter for a change!

la-me-el-nino-noaa-image-20150721This photo compares sea temps from 1997 to our present El Nino situation. As you can see we are close and building. However, perhaps more interesting is the NW Pacific Sea temps off our coast which are up to 10 degrees above average in places and breaking records. Since we have never experienced an El Nino year when our local sea temps were this warm… there is no way to predict the outcome. Warm water typically means energy, and energy, from a meteorological standpoint, normally means storms. However, the temps of these storms and where they may be headed… are all up in the air. Typically in less robust El Nino years it’s So Cal that gets most of the action leaving us high and dry. In big El Nino years like 82/83 and 97/98 even Tahoe received a pretty generous fraction of the action.


As one can easily see, we are working toward a significant event if we continue to intensify sea temps in the South Eastern Pacific. Although a homage to Ullr or any other God of your choice or El Nino herself might be helpful… probably a shot of your favorite beverage with a slow motion dream of your last bottomless pow run with your eyes closed will due just as well (my plan). At least that way we can again enjoy what has already happened plus it’s a great excuse for a drink!