Second storm hits Northern Nevada

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

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Motorists grumbled while ski resorts exulted earlier this week as the second in a series of winter-like storms swept through the Tahoe-Truckee region.

A colder, wetter storm was predicted to hit the Sierra Nevada Wednesday night, and forecasters say the area may be hit by a snowstorm on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

"We just may have a white Christmas," said Kyle Mozley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Reno.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a 90 percent chance of rain or snow overnight into today with temperatures topping out in the mid-30s. There is a 50 percent chance of snow tonight into Friday with lows in the teens.

For the second straight week, Tahoe-area ski resorts received a fresh blanket of snow, just in time to prepare the slopes for holiday weekend skiers.

"The timing couldn't be better," said spokeswoman Rachael Woods, of Alpine Meadows. "This is a great storm in terms of opening trails that don't have snowmaking on them."

The storm will also allow Alpine Meadows to give seasonal employees more work, Woods said.

Six to 8 inches of new snow was reported having fallen at Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood Mountain Resort by Wednesday, with another 10 inches expected.

"The snow is light, but sticking to our 9-inch to 12-inch base very nicely, setting up a perfect holiday week next week," said Sierra spokeswoman Kirstin Cattell.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort reported 6 to 8 inches of snow from this storm, said spokesman Daniel Pistoresi.

"The storm is doing wonders for our coverage, and guests can expect both base areas to be open this weekend with additional lifts and terrain," he said.

The early-week storm was something of an underachiever, according to National Weather Service forecasters. The low-pressure front split as it crossed the California coastline, with the brunt of the storm's force battering the Southern Sierra.

Kelly Redmond, a climatologist with the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, said this year's weather patterns are shaping up to be a typical La Niña year, when ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific are colder than usual.

"La Niña years are wetter to the north and drier to the south," Redmond said. "Lake Tahoe and Interstate 80 are in the in-between area."

This year's La Niña condition has become better established with moderate strength, he said.

"It's pretty well-anchored in place, holding its own," Redmond said. "All the ocean people are saying it looks like it will stick around until spring."

That would be just fine for those in the Tahoe-Truckee area who rely on winter sports to bring customers to the Sierra Nevada.

"It is very important," Alpine Meadows' Woods said. "It's not only the mountain it's important to, it's important to the whole town, to the lodges and the shops."

Road Conditions

For winter road conditions:

Call 1 (877) 687-6237 or 511

On the Net

Nevada Department of Transportation: and click on the 511 button


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