Break in weather due today |

Break in weather due today

Amanda Fehd
Howie Jaffray gets ready to take his dog, Nitro, indoors after a walk Wednesday afternoon. / Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Over 80 percent of days in Tahoe are clear and sunny – and today will be one of those, for a bit.

But Mother Nature has decided we’ll catch up on our not-so-sunny days this week, with more rain and snow predicted tonight, over the weekend and through the New Year.

Public utilities and state transportation departments had reported no major incidents from recent storms, but remain on alert.

The National Weather Service predicts snow tonight near lake level, with snow levels rising to 7,500 feet by Friday afternoon. We may see snow again at lake level by Saturday afternoon.

Winds gusted over 100 miles per hour on ridges in Tahoe on Wednesday. These next storms are expected to bring strong winds as well, but flooding remains the big concern.

“If we get more rain, we will see more flood warnings,” said Ray Collins, weather service meteorologist.

The weather service does not expect significant snow accumulation over the weekend. A message on their phone reminds car travelers to carry warm clothing, water, food, flashlights and tire chains during winter storms.

For backcountry travelers – including snowshoers, snowmobilers and cross country skiers – avalanche danger in the Central Sierra was upgraded Wednesday to “high,” the fourth degree on a five-point scale. More information is available at

Caltrans reported no significant accidents Wednesday due to recent winter storms.

“We’ve been very fortunate, but there’s more weather to come,” said Shelly Chernicki, Caltrans spokeswoman.

A two-car accident on Spooner Summit caused only minor injuries during rush hour Wednesday, but brought a significant backup in traffic on four-lane Highway 50.

A power outage was reported Tuesday near Montgomery Estates, according to Sierra Pacific Power Co. spokesman Karl Walquist.

Tahoe has more trees than other areas in their jurisdiction, which can threaten power lines.

“We have a pretty extensive tree trimming program,” Walquist said. “We try to be prepared by trimming areas that might be potential problems.”

Several areas in South Shore have underground power service, including Highway 50, the Tahoe Keys and a few other neighborhoods.

Phone company SBC said no widescale outages have occurred.

“They are working on things throughout the area because of the weather,” said spokeswoman Vanessa Smith. “If customers are experiencing trouble, it’s sporadic.”

Lahontan Water Board has staff monitoring construction sites and vulnerable areas, said division manager Lauri Kemper.

“We respond to complaints we hear, if someone identifies significant erosion or sediment plumes,” she said. This is a good time to see if best management practices are working properly.

“Every property owner is responsible for making sure their BMPs are working and not clogged and their water is being retained on site,” Kemper said. BMPs are environmental improvements required of all Tahoe property owners to prevent soil erosion.

Nevada transportation officials are advising drivers to avoid stopping in avalanche control areas and be aware of mud slides and debris on the roadway.

“We’ve responded to reports of rocks and mud sliding on Kingsbury Grade,” NDOT public information officer Scott Magruder said. “Our crews take pride in keeping the roads open but sometimes heavy rains, high winds and avalanche danger are so severe we can’t have traffic on the road.”

– North Lake Tahoe Bonanza staff writer Justin Broglio contributed to this report.

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