Bundle up for a freezing New Year’s Eve | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Bundle up for a freezing New Year’s Eve

Chris Wellhausen/Tahoe TribuneA stop sign in Meyers has taken the brunt of a series of storms the last two weeks in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

While more snow is in the forecast for today and tomorrow, weather officials believe New Year’s Eve will not be near as bad as a couple of nights ago.

When the snow settled, about a foot of snow had fallen at the lake between late Saturday afternoon and early Sunday. The fast-moving Pacific storm forced Highway 50 between Meyers and Placerville to be closed for eight hours. White-out conditions caused countless spin-outs and zero visibility.

The National Weather Service in Reno reported at least 14 inches of snow around 6,500 feet while terrain near 8,000 feet had about 2 feet of snow topping an already high snowpack.

Interstate 80 over Donner Summit was also shut down for an extended period of time Saturday evening, the California Highway Patrol said.

On Saturday, the snow coming down was so heavy drivers couldn’t see past the front of their car hoods, authorities said. Part of the tangled traffic attempting to leave Tahoe was diverted to the side of the highway in Meyers while other visitors decided to stay in hotel rooms for one more night.

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department experienced a mild weekend even though it handled more than a dozen minor traffic accidents Saturday night, said Sgt. Terry Daniels.

“As I read the log (Sunday) morning there were no reports of parties,” Daniels said. “That’s pretty unusual.”

The storm wasn’t as damaging as a system two weeks ago that brought traffic to a standstill and other inconveniences to South Shore when powerful winds and heavy snow knocked power lines to the ground causing darkened neighborhoods. The storm gave students another week off prior to a two-week winter break, as five consecutive snow days shut down California-side schools.

Winds were not as forceful this weekend but still hovered near 60 mph with gusts around 80 mph at mountain peaks, forecaster Mark Brown said. Brown said the upcoming week should be sprinkled with small snowstorms.

Brown expected some heavy snow by late tonight. The snow, about 3 to 6 inches, will start around 7,000 feet and will drop as colder temperatures arrive tonight. He expected temperatures to dip into the lower 20s Tuesday night.

“Snow showers (are expected) New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day should be partly cloudy,” Brown said. “It should be done by Tuesday evening.”

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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