South Lake Tahoe storm ends with wind damage, minimal snow

Griffin Rogers
A boat at Timber Cove Pier rocks in Lake Tahoe's choppy waters Thursday, the morning of a windy storm.
Photo by David Clock |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Well it wasn’t snow-mageddon, but Thursday’s high-speed winds were enough to let South Lake Tahoe residents know they had been hit by a storm.

Reports of trees and debris crashing through roofs and property continued into Friday morning, as residences began making repairs and assessing the damage.

At St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, crews on Friday were fixing a significant amount of damage done by a fallen tree. The large tree had struck the church’s social hall the day before, blasting through the roof and setting off the indoor sprinkler system.

A custodian had finished mopping in the hall minutes before the tree fell, but no one was injured in the incident.

Fortunately, the event did not set off sprinklers in the church itself, said parish secretary Beverly Sass, so the main portion of the building appeared practically undamaged the next day.

“It could have been so much worse,” she said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much repairs will cost, as the damage was still being evaluated the day after the storm. But Father Ben DeLeon said the church hoped to get an OK from the city to reopen the main portion of the building that day.

Meanwhile, police reported receiving dozens of other fallen trees calls around town as well.

Heavenly Mountain Resort ran into some trouble and, according to the resort’s website Friday morning, was experiencing power issues and evaluating the Dipper Express chairlift, “as a tree did fall on the line during the windy storm.”

The resort was closed Friday, but was scheduled to reopen Saturday.

Most South Lake Tahoe schools also remained closed Friday after being let out early Thursday. Inclement weather was to blame.

However, on Friday afternoon, Lake Tahoe Tahoe Unified School District sent an email blast out apologizing for “heeding the dire weather forecasts” and cancelling classes prematurely.

“We were duped into believing that conditions would be much worse than what transpired,” the email read. “What happened to the 1-3 feet of snow???”

Winds in the area were fierce during the storm, reaching gusts of about 70 mph in South Lake Tahoe, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowfall, on the other hand, was extremely light compared to other spots around the basin. Less than an inch of snow dusted South Lake Tahoe, and only about an inch fell at the top of Kingsbury Grade.

However, it was a different story at Kirkwood Mountain Resort and Sierra-at-Tahoe, which reportedly received up to 17 inches and 13 inches of snow, respectively. The additional snow was enough for Sierra-at-Tahoe to open at noon Friday with limited operations and discounted tickets.

For those South Lake Tahoe residents who didn’t get their snow fix though, more stormy weather is anticipated at the beginning of next week. Dry, cool and mostly cloudy weather has been forecast this weekend, with expectations of a couple inches of snow Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

A couple inches of snow is also expected each following day through Wednesday.

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