Powder outage: Storms unleash, but it’s game on for Tahoe businesses, resorts
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — What a week it’s been here.
A pair of storms unleashed fury with the first dropping multiple feet of snow that led to a loss of power for thousands of South Lake Tahoe residents, schools were closed or delayed and chains have been required all week on most basin roads.
The second storm added another couple of feet to the Sierra snowpack and it will most definitely be a white, powdery Christmas at Lake Tahoe.
As of Friday morning, just 608 Liberty Utilities customers are without power in South Lake Tahoe, about 2.5% of the utility’s customer service base. At one time earlier in the week, about 13,000 were without power.
Avalanche control was routinely performed this week on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit and over Carson Pass, California State Route 88, near Kirkwood.
Lake Tahoe Unified School District had three snow days. Incline Village schools used distance learning after already using their three snow days that are allotted by the Washoe school district.
Lake Tahoe Community College was closed on Tuesday and had to push back final exams.
Snowplows have been going nonstop but keeping up has proved to be difficult, especially on county roads.
South Lake Tahoe city officials established a shelter at the recreation center for those who have been impacted by the storms.
After receiving more than 8 feet of snow this week, the snowpack has jumped.
According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service SNOTEL data, Tahoe’s snowpack is at 157% of average, a big increase from the pre-storm average of just 36%.
It was a trying week for residents trying to go about their daily lives.
But while the snow and wind wreaked havoc and brought life to a slow crawl in the basin, the skies are clearing up for the weekend which means it’s game on for Tahoe businesses and resorts.
Friday is expected to be sunny with a high just above freezing and an overnight low in the teens.
Saturday and Sunday will be mostly sunny with highs in the upper 30s and the lows in the low 20s.
With the announcements this week from Homewood Mountain Resort and Diamond Peak Ski Resort, all Tahoe ski resorts are now open, with the exception of Sierra-at-Tahoe who suffered damage from the Caldor Fire.
“With this past week’s snow accumulation, hotels are reporting very close to sell out numbers,” said Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority President Carol Chaplin. “Any cancellations will most likely get backfilled quickly. I think this weekend will be full, and full of smiles, not to mention a spring in local folks’ steps. With the slow Caldor recovery in October, our usual November light visitation and then slow start to the season, I think this storm pattern is like a booster shot, giving all of us hopes of sustaining this momentum.
“We’re right in step with other western states as far as a delayed season goes, so competitively, I think we’re in good shape for a continued strong winter,” she added.
Tubing is popular in the basin, and lots of times illegal along roadsides, but all South Tahoe sledding resorts should be open this weekend including Adventure Mountain atop Echo Summit, Hansen’s Resort on Ski Run Boulevard near Heavenly Mountain Resort, Tahoe Snowmobile Tubing Hill across from Bally’s Lake Tahoe at Stateline and Tube Tahoe which operates on Tahoe Paradise Golf Course in Meyers.
The National Weather Service in Reno says that after this weekend the active weather pattern will likely continue into next week with a chance of snow on Tuesday and snow likely for Wednesday and Thursday.
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