Atmospheric river headed to Tahoe will renew chances of flooding, structural, travel issues

South Lake Tahoe is under a winter storm warning and flood watch this week.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Rain and snow showers may continue Monday ahead of yet another atmospheric river that arrives in the evening bringing more possible flooding, structural and travel issues to Lake Tahoe.

The National Weather Service in Reno this weekend extended the winter storm warning through Wednesday evening and also issued another flood watch. The storm advisory ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday while the flood watch is in effect through 11 p.m.

Through Monday, the service is calling for 3 inches of snow at lake level and around Truckee and 8 to 16 inches above 7,000 feet.

For Tuesday into Wednesday, accumulations of 2 to 6 inches is possible at Truckee-Tahoe with 1 to 3 feet above 7,000 feet.

Chain controls are in effect for many Tahoe highways on Monday.

For road conditions, call 511 of visit or

Sierra ridge wind gusts will exceed 100 mph and waves will reach up to 5 feet on Lake Tahoe Monday night into Tuesday.

“Snow levels will vary between 6,000 and 6,500 feet through Monday evening, then rise between 7,000 and 7,500 feet Tuesday morning, before falling during the afternoon to below 6,000 feet by late Tuesday night,” the storm warning said. “The heaviest overall snowfall rates are expected on Tuesday. Isolated lightning is also possible during heavier snow.”

The service said travel could be difficult to impossible during the multi-day storm and snow loading on structures will increase due to additional rain and snow being absorbed into the snowpack bringing higher risks of roofalanches.

Flooding could occur in mountain urban areas due to deep snow confining flow and restricting drainage. Runoff exceeding drainage capacity is expected to impact roads, agricultural areas, and poor drainage areas.

Although this atmospheric river appears a bit colder than last Friday’s storm, rapid runoff is possible in elevations below 7,000 feet due to an already saturated snowpack.

After the AR moves out Wednesday a brief break in stormy weather is expected Thursday into early Friday ahead of a “weaker” storm for the weekend that is projected to bring breezy winds, mountain snow, and valley rain showers. 

“The storm door remains open into late March, but right now we are not seeing signals for large storms,” the service said. “However, any moderate storms could reinvigorate impacts.”

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