TAHOE/TRUCKEE - A high pressure ridge off the coast of California that cut off moisture to the Sierra Nevada may break up on Tuesday, potentially bringing more than a foot of snow to the Truckee/Tahoe region.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Reno. The storm could bring 4-10 inches of snow at lake level and in lower-elevation areas in Truckee. Seven to 14 inches of snow is possible above 7,000 feet.
Wind gusts up to 25 mph are likely at lake level during the storm, with 90 mph gusts possible along Sierra Nevada ridge tops. Chain and snow tire controls are anticipated to be in effect along most major highways; visit www.sierrasun.com/roadconditions for updates throughout the day.
The small storm will be a welcome one for the region, which has seen dry conditions ever since a series of storms dumped 5 to 7 feet of snow around the December holidays. It's been cold throughout January and February, however, allowing much of that snow to stay packed at ski resorts.
In a joint statement issued last week by NWS and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, forecasters said moisture during February is expected to stay dry. That means lower streamflows when the melt-off comes this summer unless more wet storms leave moisture in the Valley.
"The next six to eight weeks will tell the final story of snowpack this winter and what the spring and summer streamflow will be," forecasters said. "Just a few more wet storms could cause the season to finish in good shape."
According to Natural Resource Conservation Service snow telemetry, the Lake Tahoe Basin's snowpack is at 79 percent of average as of Friday morning.
Throughout this week, according to NWS, high temperatures in the region are forecast in the low- to mid-30s, with low temperatures dipping below 10 degrees in Truckee.