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Pineapple express won’t stop in Tahoe

Jeff Munson
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Joe Benedict, visiting from San Diego, heads back to his car for his knee braces after skiing Gunbarrel on Wednesday morning at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
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Frigid air will ride the back of a storm that brought about 9 inches of snow to South Lake Tahoe and nearly 2 feet into the Sierra on Wednesday.

A blast of cold from the north is expected to bring conditions to possibly the coldest this season, with lows dropping in the single-digits at lake level and below zero in higher elevations.

Highs today in South Lake Tahoe will be in the low 30s, with lows sinking to 12 degrees tonight, the National Weather Service reported. On Friday it will be even colder, dipping to 6 degrees at South Shore and -3 in Truckee. Below-zero temperatures are expected above 7,000 feet.

Slick roads appear to be the major concern today among California and Nevada road departments. Sanding and snow removal trucks will be out in force this morning as they were on Wednesday.

“With freezing water on the roadways following the snow removal there’s concern about the black ice,” said Scott Magruder, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman.

Caltrans, NDOT and the city of South Lake Tahoe reported snow removal operations ran as usual for Wednesday’s storm. Two city snow removal employees called in sick, reported Jan O’Brien, city management analyst. Their routes were covered by an additional staff member and Scott Rogers, the streets superintendent, she said.

Caltrans reported 20 pieces of snow removal equipment used at South Shore Wednesday with plans to use dump trucks today to haul snow off the streets. During the last storm, Caltrans hauled 850 truckloads of snow off Highway 50 through South Shore, said agency spokesman Mark Dinger. Caltrans is the only agency that trucks snow into holding areas.

Some Caltrans trucks are equipped with special thermometers that measure the pavement temperature so they can get a better idea of how much salt and sand to put down, Dinger said. Caltrans uses high-grade, low phosphorous sand. It does not use cinders.

Law enforcement on both sides of the state line reported no injury accidents by midafternoon Wednesday.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Gardner said his agency responded to four fender benders on Highway 89, Pioneer Trail and Highway 88.

South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Martin Hewlett said his officers were on the scene of six minor crashes with no injuries scattered around town. Half were located up around Keller and Needle Peak roads. The Nevada Highway Patrol reported nine accidents, including three rollovers off Highway 395 north of Carson City.

Simon Smith, a co-op weather observer for the National Weather Service, said Wednesday’s storm precipitation amounts are the opposite of what happened on Saturday when South Lake Tahoe received 16 inches of snow while the North and West shores received only about 6 to 9 inches. Incline Village received at least 18 inches as by Wednesday afternoon.

“The system didn’t dig as far south as the last one did,” Smith said. “Therefore the convection that we have been waiting for did develop but developed further north,” he said.

The forecast through the weekend calls for the possibility of more snow.

– Tribune staff writers Amanda Fehd and Susan Wood contributed to this story


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