Approaching storm upgraded, expected to dump 2 feet of snow at 7,000 feet around Lake Tahoe |

Approaching storm upgraded, expected to dump 2 feet of snow at 7,000 feet around Lake Tahoe

All is calm Monday morning at Lake Tahoe before an expected storm hits Tuesday afternoon.
Provided /

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 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.

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.”

Caltrans’ reminds drivers to carry chains in winter. Cars without four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive will be fined if they do not have chains on or in their cars during chain controls. 

Cars usually have about a mile between “Chains Required” signs and the checkpoint to install the chains. To put on and take off the chains, pull completely off the road. Once chains are on, the required speed is 25 to 30 miles an hour.

While driving in winter conditions, drive slower than usual, even if the speed limit is higher in normal conditions, keep windshields and windows clear, keep your gas tank full, keep a distance between the car in front of you and if you stall, stay with your car.

And remember to park out of the way of snowplows. City snowplows are deployed when an average of three inches of snow has fallen. Vehicles left unattended in the streets are subject to citation and towing.

“City staff will work hard to keep roads as clear as possible during this winter storm, but we’ll need your help,” said Ray Jarvis, South Lake Tahoe Public Works Director. “Keep anything that could inhibit snow removal teams out of the city right of way. Illegally parked vehicles can hamper snow removal efforts.”

For those staying at, or coming to, Lake Tahoe this Thanksgiving, be prepared for power outages and have a backup plan.

South Lake Tahoe has two locations for sandbags if needed, at the recreation center located at 1180 Rufus Blvd and at Fire Station No. 3 at 2101 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Access to sandbags is available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The latest road conditions can be found by calling 5-1-1.

South Lake Tahoe’s snow removal phone line is 530-542-6030.

For El Dorado County residents, the snow removal phone number is 530-573-3180.

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