TAHOE/TRUCKEE - Up to 6 inches of rain could fall in areas along Highway 89 this weekend, causing the National Weather Service in Reno to issue a flood watch for the greater Lake Tahoe Basin.
Two to 4 inches of rain are possible in the basin Saturday through Sunday, according to the warning issued Wednesday afternoon.
Small creeks and streams in the Lake Tahoe Basin, eastern Alpine County and the foothills west of U.S. Highway 395 have the highest risk of flooding, according to the watch, which remains in effect until Sunday morning. The weather service urges people living near creeks and streams to monitor the latest weather information and be prepared to take action if flooding takes place.
Mud and rock slides are possible in steep terrain and in areas recently burned by wildfires. Motorists are encouraged to slow down and use caution, especially over mountain passes that will become slick and hazardous due to heavy, wet snow.
Snow levels are expected to fluctuate throughout the weekend, with the Weather Service anticipating 8 to 16 inches of snow between 7,000 and 8,000 feet, with 2 to 3 feet of snow expected above 8,000 feet during Friday's system.
"Periods of rain through Saturday will increase soil moisture ahead of a period of heavy rain with high snow levels Saturday afternoon through Sunday," according to the Weather Service. "Snow levels will rise above 8,000 feet Saturday afternoon and may rise to near 10,000 feet Saturday night...before a cold front passes through the Sierra and western Nevada Sunday. Snow levels will fall to 6,000 feet to 7,000 feet behind the front and quickly end the flood threat."