It seems Mother Nature isn’t prepared to leave South Lake Tahoe too high and dry this season, as forecasters predict up to 8 inches of snowfall at lake level by Monday.
Snowfall is expected to begin falling this afternoon and continue into Saturday morning, said Jessica Kielhorn, forecaster for the National Weather Service. However, warm air could turn the snow into rain around mid-day.
“The problem is, by Saturday afternoon, what’s going to happen is we’re gong to see the snow levels jump up drastically,” she said.
In other words, higher elevations will likely experience snow all weekend and receive several feet over the next few days.
“Basically what we’re looking at is several feet of heavy, wet, Sierra-cement snow,” Kielhorn said.
Snow will start falling at lake level elevations again Sunday night, she said.
As for weekend temperatures, highs and lows are expected to remain fairly consistent throughout the storm. Kielhorn forecasted highs settling around 40 degrees with lows lingering in the low- to mid-30s.
She also anticipates winds reaching up to 35 mph later today, but dying down Saturday afternoon.
For South Lake Tahoe, the wet weather will arrive about a week after a storm dumped 2 feet of snow on Heavenly and up to a foot in town.
Dan Beermann, general manager at the Beacon Bar & Grill, said the benefits of snowfall are already easy to see.
“On the weekend after a storm,” he said, “you can see a big influx (in customers), and it definitely does help business.”
“In the long term, it’s white gold for the town,” Beermann added.
Mike Frye, event and media relations manager at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, seemed to agree.
“There’s nothing we can say ourselves that a good storm can’t say better,” he said.
Business and reservations around town are up, which bodes well with the arrival of snow, Frye said. The excitement level has also spiked among potential visitors since last week’s storm.
“What that says is people are stoked,” Frye said.
South Lake Tahoe came close to getting its average amount of January precipitation this season, pulling in 2.27 inches for the month instead of the average 2.67 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
February precipitation is falling behind, too, as the Weather Service reports 0.06 inches in the first six days of the month instead of the average 0.26 inches.