December Record Broken! More Snow, Single Digit Temps on the Way

Mike Peron

South Lake Tahoe, Calif. – This sure has been a December to remember and it will literally go down in the record books.

As of 8:35 a.m., highway closures from Sunday remain in effect which include Hwy 50, 80, 88, 89, 267, and 431. This leaves only Spooner and Kingsbury grades as access points in and out of the Tahoe Basin. Follow Caltrans District 3 for the most up-to-date information – travel is still not advised.

Overnight snowfall rates were recorded by NWS across the Sierra at rates of 2-4″ per hour and continuing through sunrise. This brought snow ranges of 18-36″ 24-hr totals reported by the resorts at the higher elevations. Lake level residents were smothered with another 12-16″ in their driveways with little room to displace the new snow. That’s over 100″ in just 6 days!

The snowfall record for December of 1970 at the Central Sierra Snow Lab was 179″ but with the recent burst of 39″ of snow our official totals now sit at 193″ with more on the way.


The next wave of this winter storm continues to bring heavy Sierra snowfall and the potential for more accumulating snow down in western Nevada valleys today. A much colder airmass will be in place this week with frigid single digit and sub-zero low temperatures possible region wide.

While not record breaking, these temps would be the coldest readings in nearly five years for many areas. At this point Tuesday and Saturday mornings have the best odds for these frigid temperatures. People traveling to the Sierra ski areas should prepare for wind chills. New Years Eve at this point will be dry but colder than normal.

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