Blustery weekend in the forecast |

Blustery weekend in the forecast

In time for the weekend and on the heels of a storm that dumped more than 3 feet of snow at lake level, a cold and blustery front has moved into the Sierra, with at least 10 inches of snow expected to add to the snowpack.

A winter storm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for today at the Lake Tahoe Basin, where accumulations could reached between 5 and 10 inches today, with additional snow through the weekend and possibly on Christmas.

“It looks like a good chance of snow on Wednesday, but right now it’s too early to tell,” said National Weather Service forecaster Al Cox.

Stopping short of blaming El Nino for the latest storm, Cox said the storm front that is moving through California has a large cold front from the Arctic north that is pushing down the jet stream into the Sierra.

Lake Tahoe ski resort officials are rejoicing after receiving upward of 5 feet of snow from the last storm.

“The last storm system was extremely strong, with a lot more moisture within that system,” Cox said. “This one won’t be as moist or as strong.”

Winds picked up Thursday afternoon, with gusts of up to 60 mph anticipated along the ridges Thursday evening and tapering off today.

Meanwhile, much of the South Shore used Thursday’s balmy conditions to dig out from the earlier storm and prepare paths for the new one.

Sierra Pacific Power Co. reported it was making progress Thursday, with 241 homes still without power. That’s down from the 1,150 homes that were powerless Wednesday, and more than 4,000 homes Monday and Tuesday.

“We’ve had another good day in progress and we think we will have everyone back up with power (today),” Sierra Pacific spokeswoman Faye Andersen said. “But with this new system coming in, we are concerned about more outages.”

The good news is an additional 20 crews have been brought in to the region to work on outages around the clock, Andersen added.

Caltrans and Nevada Department of Transportation plows continued hauling snow out of the basin, despite large berms still remaining on the California side of Highway 50.

Elsewhere, El Dorado County Animal Control reports more dogs on the loose in South Lake Tahoe because of the storms.

On Thursday, a dog was hit and killed by a snow plow, said Robert Gerat, supervising animal control officer.

“Dog owners should take extra precaution, clearing the snow away from their fences so dogs can’t get over,” Gerat said. “It’s also a good idea to shovel a place for them to go when you let them out so they don’t run out into the middle of the street.”

The Lake Tahoe Humane Society reports needing volunteers to help with snow removal at their facilities after volunteers have been snowed in.

“We’ve been closed because of the storm, but we should be opened up Monday,” said Dawn Armstrong, executive director.

Snow removal is needed around the facilities dumpsters and its animal exercise yard. To volunteer, call (530) 577-4521 or (530) 544-4701.

While the storms have brought plenty of snow for skiers in time for the holidays, there is now a greater possibility of danger for avalanches.

“Skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers should be aware of avalanche potential in backcountry areas and should carefully familiarize themselves with ski area regulations, closures and advisories,” said Rex Norman, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

If plans call for winter backcountry travel on national forest lands, contact the U.S. Forest Service at (530) 573-2600.

With Lake Tahoe Unified School District closed through the week, parents looked for unique ways to have their children spend the extra days off.

Lia Verzatt, 9, followed her mother, Lori London around El Dorado County Superior Court on Thursday. Lia, a fourth-grader at Meyers Elementary School, wore silver antlers on her head while watching her mother work her duties as a defense attorney.

“I think it’s kind of a bad thing because you have to be in school to learn,” Lia said. “My brother and I are going to get really bored because there’s nothing to do.”

— Tribune staff writer William Ferchland contributed to this story. E-mail Jeff Munson at

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