It might be a white Christmas |

It might be a white Christmas

Jeff Munson

A storm moving today through Alaska may drop down into the Sierra and the Lake Tahoe Basin on Christmas, bringing with it several inches of fresh snow.

The National Weather Service in Reno expects the storm to blow into the Lake Tahoe Basin on Saturday night, dropping between 3 and 8 inches at lake level, with possibly up to a foot in the higher elevations.

“The unsettled system could make for the ideal ski conditions on Sunday and Monday,” said meteorologist Jane Hollingsworth.

After the weekend, things could get more interesting as another weather system of equal size is lining up in the gulf of Alaska. That storm could produce more snow by midweek and last for at least two days, Hollingsworth said.

All this spells good news for ski areas and snowpack in the high country, as temperatures last week broke record highs for the season, with daytime temperatures in the 50s.

The snowpack in the Sierra stands at about 115 percent of normal, and with the storms approaching, it could bump it much higher, Hollingsworth said.

Meanwhile, at South Shore’s three nearby ski resorts there are good conditions despite the lack of precipitation. Nighttime temperatures have been cold enough to keep Heavenly Mountain Resort’s snowmaking guns fired at full throttle for weeks. Heavenly has a snow depth of 22 to 40 inches, with 20 lifts operating. Sierra-at-Tahoe has a 72-inch base with eight lifts running, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort has the most snow, with 110 inches at the top and 10 lifts operating.

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