Lake Tahoe Weather: Winter storm warning in effect, 2-5 inches of snow expected at lake level
— Ryan Hoffman (@RyanHoffman3) February 10, 2017
Residents in the Tahoe Basin can’t seem to catch a break, at least a decently lengthy one, when it comes to weather.
A flood warning will remain in effect until 9:15 a.m. Friday, while a winter storm warning is set to expire at 1 a.m. Saturday. Snow levels are around 6,000 feet Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Reno. Snow level is expected to fall to 5,500 feet Friday evening and to all valley floors by Saturday morning.
The storm could bring 2 to 5 inches of new snow at lake level by Friday night, while the high country could see 1 to 2 feet at elevations above 8,000 and 6 to 12 inches between 7,000 and 8,000 feet.
The snow comes right on the heels of several days of steady rain that caused flooding in parts of South Lake Tahoe and elsewhere. State streets in Tahoe Keys, including Michael Drive, Dover Court, Colorado Court and Montezuma Avenue, all saw significant flooding Thursday, the city of South Lake Tahoe reported. Venice Drive was closed.
Streets behind the Knights Inn, including Bill Avenue, Shirley Avenue and Bijou Creek, were closed Thursday due to flooding.
In a Facebook post Friday morning, the city of South Lake Tahoe Public Works Department reported that flooding persists in the Tahoe Keys, including state streets, Keys Boulevard and Venice Drive east, on Bill Avenue, Shirley Avenue, Vanda Lee, Betty Rae and Woodbine Avenue.
The Upper Truckee crested at 12.41 feet around 4:30 a.m. Friday, according to public works. That marks leaves only the historic January 1997 flood in terms of the greatest crest in the history of record keeping.
Sand bags are still available at both city locations at Rufus Allen Boulevard and South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue Fire Station 3.
NWS warns that the danger of flooding will persist even as the Tahoe Basin starts seeing more snow than rain.
“Falling snow will rapidly melt in already standing water. Areas that are flooded due to blocked culverts or snow berms will continue to experience flooding conditions. Some isolated spots that are flooded may worsen due to this additional precipitation today.”
Rising waters were not the only thing to cause problems in the area Thursday.
Strong winds likely downed a tree that left more than 2,000 Liberty Utilities customers in South Lake Tahoe without power for a hour Thursday.
As of press deadline Thursday, U.S. 50 was still closed near Cave Rock east of Lake Tahoe due to safety concerns.
The Nevada Department of Transportation closed the highway Wednesday when a large boulder — the fifth in three days — tumbled from the slope above. Prior to the closure, travel had been reduced to one lane in each direction, with both directions of traffic shifted to the westbound lanes away from the rockfall area.
Two rows of concrete barrier rail were placed on the eastbound side of the roadway to help capture additional boulders before they slide into traffic.
However, NDOT decided to close U.S. 50 due the presence of another large boulder on the edge of the unstable slope above. Since NDOT is essentially waiting for the boulder to fall or for conditions to stabilize, there is no estimated time for reopening U.S. 50, Meg Ragonese, NDOT public information officer, stated Thursday.
The closure means many motorists traveling from the South Shore to Carson City, Reno and elsewhere in northern Nevada, are taking Kingsbury Grade, which was the site of other weather-related issues Thursday.
A minor mudslide led to brief traffic holds in the afternoon. Later in the day, heavy snowfall was reported toward the top of Kingsbury.
The recent weather continues what has been a precipitation-heavy 2017. January started with heavy rain before some of the largest snowstorms in recent memory blanketed the Tahoe Basin. The city declared a state of emergency that same month. That declaration does not extend to the recent storms, Tracy Franklin, South Lake Tahoe communications manager, confirmed Thursday. City Council would have to declare another state of emergency.
A flood warning from the National Weather Service was set to remain in effect until early Friday morning. Rain is expected to turn to snow latter that morning with 2 to 5 inches of new snow accumulation possible by Friday evening. The forecast shows mostly clear conditions through the weekend and into the start of the following week.