Lake Tahoe weather: 1-3 feet of snow, 100 mph winds for weekend storm |

Lake Tahoe weather: 1-3 feet of snow, 100 mph winds for weekend storm

Kevin MacMillan
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, like all regional ski resorts, saw an abundance of snow this past winter.
Courtesy Billy Jesberg / Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe |


Should the storm hit as forecast, it would be a welcome boost to Truckee-Tahoe ski resorts after a relatively dry February began to diminish conditions ever since a strong start to the winter in December and January.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The National Weather Service has “high confidence” that forecast winter storms will bring plenty of snow to high elevation areas at Lake Tahoe and Truckee this weekend through Monday, March 7.

The Reno NWS office published a special weather statement Thursday morning, March 3, detailing expectations for a series of storms expected to bring as much as 1 to 3 feet of snow up top by Monday.

“Confidence is high that a strong winter storm will affect the region this weekend, with an initial period of High Sierra snow late Friday night, along with strong winds out into Western Nevada on Saturday,” according to NWS. “Additional rounds of snow and rain will develop Saturday night through Monday. Although forecast confidence is high, exact details of timing and snow amounts may still change.”

Following are snowfall projections as of Thursday morning, according to NWS:

• Above 7,000 feet: 1 to 3 feet is forecast with “high confidence” by Monday morning.

• Between 6,000 and 7,000 feet: Up to 12 inches is forecast with “medium confidence,” with heaviest amounts along and west of Highway 89.

• Between 5,000 and 6,000 feet: Up to 6 inches is forecast with “low confidence.”

• Below 5,000 feet: Up to a couple inches is forecast with “low confidence.”

While snowfall levels aren’t concrete, what forecasters are sure of is heavy winds will bear down on the region this weekend, making for blustery conditions and dangerous travel circumstances.

“South to Southwest wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph will affect drivers of high-profile vehicles and result in increased turbulence for aircraft,” according to NWS. “Lake waters will be rough and hazardous for boaters … ridge gusts exceeding 100 mph will impact outdoor activities in the High Sierra, and periods of whiteout conditions are expected.”

As is the case with most Sierra storms, conditions will make driving a challenge. Snow tire or chain restrictions may be in effect along most highways and passes, including Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50, California highways 28, 89 and 267, and Nevada highways 28, 207 and 431.

As for an extended forecast, some weather bloggers and snow forecasters are expecting more snow next week, perhaps as much as 3 or more feet.

As of Thursday morning, NWS had yet to issue a detailed forecast for what could happen beyond Sunday-Monday. Follow all winter long for weather updates, or head to Facebook.

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