Alaskan storm heading this way |

Alaskan storm heading this way

Jeff Munson
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Antonio Garza clears the roof of Big Daddy's Burgers on Monday morning. He said he heard of another big storm coming in and wanted to be prepared.

Don’t let the warmth and any sunshine that peeks through the clouds early today fool you. By tonight, conditions in the Lake Tahoe Basin are expected to radically change.

A winter storm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service through Wednesday night, with up to 16 inches of snow expected at lake level and more than 2 feet at higher elevations.

Temperatures in South Lake Tahoe will warm to the upper-40s by early afternoon, with rain turning to snow later in the day. High winds are expected to fuel the storm tonight, with 40 mph gusts expected at lake level and 110 mph gusts along ridgetops.

“The (higher) temperatures will be short-lived come later in the afternoon,” said Rudy Cruz, meteorologist with the Reno-based weather service. “By (tonight) you will be seeing considerable blowing and drifting snow.”

Snow totals tonight could be up to 8 inches at lake level and a foot above 7,000 feet. Totals through Wednesday should be just as much, if not more, Cruz said.

“The storm is coming down from the Gulf of Alaska and has some power to it,” he said.

The system, however, doesn’t appear to be spectacular or unusual, like Saturday’s storm that dumped 16 inches at lake level, surprising South Shore residents and even weather forecasters who admit to not seeing the snow amounts coming.

Tonight’s storm looks “more like a typical winter weather pattern,” Cruz said. “Since we’ve had warm November and December storms, this is more like a typical winter pattern for this time of year. Hopefully we will get a lot of water content out of it.”

With the 24 to 30 inches of snow that fell in the higher elevations over the weekend, and with this storm system, ski resorts should have plenty to be thankful for, coming off of December’s warm storms that brought mostly rain.

“It’s good for the region and it’s good for the message: Tahoe and Kirkwood are getting dumped on,” said Tracy Miller, spokeswoman for Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

From top to bottom so far this season Kirkwood has received 180 to 320 inches, said Miller.

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