Fall snow covers South Lake Tahoe

Eric Heinz
Nathan Owen uses a bungee cord to sling himself up a ramp via snowboard Monday at Bijour Park in South Lake Tahoe. Local meterologists reported 3 to 6 inches of snowfall at lake level from Sunday night to Monday morning.
Eric Heinz / Tahoe Daily Tribune | Tahoe Daily Tribune

A mid-fall snowstorm Sunday night and Monday morning blanketed the Lake Tahoe Basin, dumping 3 inches to almost a foot of powder in certain areas.

South Lake Tahoe received 3 to 6 inches Monday at the lake level, according to the National Weather Service in Reno, but there may have been as much as 10 inches above 7,000 feet. Another inch of snow fell cumulatively Tuesday in the South Lake Tahoe area, NWS reported.

For the nearby ski resorts, Kirkwood Mountain Resort reported 9 inches from Sunday night to Tuesday evening; Heavenly Mountain reported 8 inches of snowfall; and Sierra-at-Tahoe reported 10 inches of snow.

Snowplows were out early Monday morning, but the rest of the week should return to dry weather and fair temperatures, local meteorologists said.

South Lake Tahoe Public Works assistant director Jim Marino said the first snowplow of the season went smoothly for the department.

“We were done within eight hours, starting at 5:30 a.m. and finished right up at about 3 p.m.,” Marino said. “I think the warming of the streets helped with clearing. The snow tended to melt off pretty quick.”

All eight graders were out with the sanding truck Monday morning, Marino said. He said there were no road closures within town with the exception of Needle Peak Road, which is typically closed during winter.

South Lake Tahoe Airport director Sherry Miller said no measurements of the snowfall had been taken, but a lot of it had been plowed early in the morning. Miller said the airport only closes temporarily, most of the time, during snowstorms.

“We never really close it, but we may close the taxiway for a period of time through each storm when we plow,” Miller said. “During a big storm, we may close it for about two hours while we remove the snow.”

Miller said she received about 5 inches of snow at her home in South Lake Tahoe.

National Weather Service of Reno meteorologist Mark Deutschendorf said most of the snow that hit the area fell in the northern areas near Truckee and Donner Summit.

“The storm that came through (Sunday) night was a really intense area of low pressure form the north,” Deutschendorf said. “This was driven by the dynamics of the storm that caused some thunder and lightning associated with it because it had so much energy. When we get the cold front, the air masses get pushed upward, and that helps develop these intense snow bands.”

Deutschendorf said the storm at first looked like it wouldn’t hit the Lake Tahoe area on Friday, but it materialized again on Saturday when the front moved more toward the lake.

“It showed how things can change quickly around the Sierras,” Deutschendorf said. “After having so many days of having sunny, calm and warm weather, when the right type of storm system comes it can change drastically.”

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