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Tahoe Nugget #43:

Tahoe Tranquility

Here in the West, the winter months are by far the most active weatherwise. The 2005-06 storm pattern has been wet and relatively warm for California so far, a combination that has provided a healthy dose of snow to the upper elevations of the Sierra Range. Kirkwood ski area has been blasted with more than 30 feet of snow so far this winter.

The mild temperatures and higher snow levels have meant less shoveling for residents here at lake level. While last winter's cold, powder storms made for one of the best ski years in memory, snow removal took a lot of time and effort for those of us without the luxury of a motorized snow blower.

During the past few months, sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean have cooled indicating La Niña conditions have developed. Forecasters expect the remaining months of winter to bring wetter than normal conditions to the Pacific Northwest and drier than average weather in Southern California and the Desert Southwest. A drier and milder spring in the Sierra is somewhat more likely with the La Niña pattern, but no forecaster is going to bet the mortgage on it. Fortunately, most Tahoe resorts have plenty of snow to carry them well into April, the traditional end of the busiest time for hitting the slopes. Of course, there are always die-hards who want to ski until the end of May, but by then most people have taken out the golf clubs, the bicycle, or the boat.

It's way too early to eulogize the winter of 2005-06, and plenty of storms are most likely still on the way, but not this week. High pressure over the region during the next five days will provide clear, sunny skies, calm winds, and beautiful views of the lake. Even powder hounds can learn to appreciate the weather diversity and calm between the storms that make up a Tahoe winter.Nugget #43 A Tahoe reflection Carson Range

Nugget #43 B Tahoe Calm with boat from Homewood

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