Sierra storm could bring 3 feet to high elevations; holiday travel discouraged
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The winter storm taking aim at Lake Tahoe has been upgraded to a winter storm warning.
Heavy snow and strong wind gusts are expected to reach the basin Tuesday afternoon and last until Thursday afternoon, according to a Monday advisor from the National Weather Service in Reno.
The NWS is forecasting 8 to 18 inches at lake level, 1 to 2 feet above 7,000 feet and localized amounts up to 3 feet over the three-day period.
Wind gusts could reach up to 60 mph. The cold nature of the storm will lead to snow accumulations at all elevations.
In Carson City and the valley areas, total snow accumulations of 1 to 5 inches are forecast, with the highest totals likely to be south of Highway 50.
Up at the lake, Heavenly Mountain Resort should open with a bang Wednesday. Even if the lifts are delayed due to snow, there will be powder turns to be had on the South Shore.
NWS said the worst driving conditions will be Tuesday through midday Wednesday. Blowing snow will further reduce visibility.
Traveling could take two to three times longer and getting stuck in the car for hours is possible.
The NWS suggests preparing for long delays and carry tire chains, an emergency kit with extra food, water and proper clothing.
“Anyone traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday week should anticipate chain control requirements over the Sierra passes and allow extra travel time to reach their destination,” Caltrans District 3 spokesperson Steve Nelson told the Tribune. “We anticipate winter driving conditions with snow likely Tuesday and Wednesday and also a chance of snow on Thanksgiving. Motorists should always check conditions before they go, especially in the Sierra.”
For those staying at, or coming to, Lake Tahoe this Thanksgiving, be prepared for power outages and have a backup plan.