Fire Weather Watch issued for Tahoe ahead of 1st snowstorm |

Fire Weather Watch issued for Tahoe ahead of 1st snowstorm

Snow is possible late this week for the Tahoe Basin with heavier amounts expected for the Sierra Crest.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lake Tahoe may receive its snow of the season this week, but before anything falls from the sky officials are forecasting dangerous fire conditions.

The National Weather Service in Reno on Tuesday issued a Fire Weather Watch for gusty winds and low humidity that goes into effect Thursday evening and lasts into Friday morning.

A southwest wind of 15 to 25 mph will gust up to 45 mph and some wind-prone areas such as summits and ridgetops could see triple digits.

The humidity will be in the 15 to 25% range and will quickly rise to about 60% Friday morning.

NWS also updated its Special Weather Statement to include more details about an incoming cold storm that could drop a couple inches of snow at lake level.

The high temperatures Wednesday and Thursday will be in the low 60s before the cold front enters the basin in the early morning hours Thursday. The snow level starts at 8,900 feet and lowers to about 8,000 after midnight. 

Friday morning may start with a bit of rain before 10 a.m. then a mixture of rain and snow is likely into the afternoon.

There is a 60% chance of precipitation and up to a half inch of snow may coat the ground at lake level.

The wind dies down a bit Friday night to about 5 to 10 mph and the low will drop into the low 20s but there’s a 40% chance more snow may fall adding up to about an inch. 

The 40% chance of snow extends into Saturday and Sunday where the high temps are not expected to move above freezing.

NWS said another front moves in on Sunday and snow is likely in the morning. The high temp will hover in the high 20s and then drop into the teens overnight.

The Tahoe Daily snow forecast says snow accumulations may be anywhere from 1 to 6 inches at the lake depending on the side of the lake, with the heavier forecast for the West Shore and Sierra Crest.

NWS is forecasting up to a foot of snow in the Kirkwood area from Thursday through Sunday.

Tioga, Sonora and Ebbetts passes are still open but that may change ahead of this weekend.

Snow will affect travel through the Sierra and mountain passes. Now is a good time to have a travel kit in your vehicle that includes water, extra food, a warm blanket and flashlight among other things.

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