Red Flag Warning to accompany freezing temps at Lake Tahoe

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service Friday afternoon.

Not only is it going to be quite cold late this weekend, expected strong winds will bring a greater chance of wildfire.

The National Weather Service in Reno upgraded to a Red Flag Warning Friday afternoon for gusty winds and low humidity that goes into effect Sunday afternoon at 5 and lasts for 24 hours for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

NWS initially issued a Fire Weather Watch before upgrading to the warning.

NWS says northeast winds from 15 to 20 mph will gust up to 30 to 35 mph on Sunday around lake level. Gusts up to 50-60 mph along mid-slopes and wind prone areas and up to 70 mph-plus along the Sierra crest are also expected.

The humidity is hovering around 15-25%, which is not extremely low, but officials say with very dry fuel conditions the strong winds will still be capable of efficient fire spread, possibly growing faster than first responders can gain control.

Officials advise against any outdoor activities that could cause a spark such as yard work, target shooting or campfires, which are currently restricted in the basin.

The chance for precipitation on Sunday also rose to 30% for rain showers after 11 a.m. The snow level starts at 8,000 feet and lowers to 6,900 feet in the afternoon. It will be mostly sunny with a high near 50 before possibly going into the teens overnight.

NWS has not issued a warning about being on the lake, but heavy wind in the expected range could easily cause 2 to 4 foot waves that can capsize small boats, kayaks or paddle boards,

The high for Friday and Saturday is expected to be in the mid 60s dropping to below freezing overnight for both days.

Check for updates and for preparedness tips.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.