Minimal amount of snow in forecast |

Minimal amount of snow in forecast

It’s time to give that shovel a break and the back a rest.

The National Weather Service reported Sunday a reprieve this week from stormy conditions that pummeled Lake Tahoe, but brought out acts of kindness among its citizens during the past week.

Throughout a week characterized by a major power outage and heavy snow, the residents of South Lake Tahoe were seen pushing stalled vehicles off roads, pulling others out of snowbanks, lending shovels and offering candles.

In other words, Tahoe residents hunkered down in a winter compared to the El Ni-o winter of 1997-98. El Ni-o is a tropical weather phenomenon originating from a warm water mass off the Pacific coast of South America at the equator.

Most needles of measurement point to El Ni-o-driven storms throughout the season, climatologists predicted in the Tahoe Daily Tribune as early as August 2001.

“It’s not the biggest ever, but it was definitely a big storm (series),” weather service meteorologist Larry Brown Sunday.

Between Dec. 14-17, up to 4 feet of snow fell at lake level. The amount doubled above 8,000 feet.

Regional precipitation was widespread, with Reno receiving a record level of rain Dec. 16 — 1.29 inches. An average December pulls out less than 1 inch, Brown said.

The forecast for this week calls for a bit of a drying period, subsiding winds and temperatures hovering slightly below normal, he added.

By mid-week, Lake Tahoe may get a few inches of snow. More unstable air may materialize by Thursday and Friday, but the trend appears to indicate the unsettled air mass traveling south of Tahoe.

Next weekend’s outlook shows a storm lined up to deliver something more substantial but not monumental.

“It’s certainly not like the storm we just had,” Brown said.

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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