Rain expected to turn to snow | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Rain expected to turn to snow

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Jim Hardin, with El Dorado County Department of Transportation, clears a roadside drain Monday along Sawmill Pond Road.

A strong tropical storm pushed into the Lake Tahoe Basin on Monday, bringing at least 2 inches of rain that caused some flooding. Heavy snow is expected this morning and into tonight.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the basin, as temperatures are expected to drop, bringing with them 4 to 8 inches of snow at lake level and between 1 to 2 feet above 7,000 feet.

“It will snow most everywhere,” said weather forecaster Jim Fischer.

The exception will be the valley floors, where more rain is expected as well as some flooding in the Reno area as the Truckee River is expected to crest about 1 foot above flood stage, Fischer said.

While streams in the basin may experience some minor flooding, today’s snow should stave off any significant rises in small river and stream waters along the South Upper Truckee River, he said.

Residents on Bill Avenue in South Lake Tahoe reported flooding occurring on their street late Monday afternoon.

“It started again,” resident Patricia Mahnke said, recalling how 2 to 3 feet of water poured over her street over the New Year’s holiday, wrecking a neighbor’s fence and sending residents out of their homes to push stranded motorists to higher ground.

“We have such a hard time with the water draining over here,” she said.

Pradip Patel, who runs Super 8 Motel, said the storm has him concerned because he recently finished rehabilitating 40 rooms damaged from the New Year’s storms. Patel sent out a worker to buy sand to bag up in case the business needs to put up a wall to avert stormwater.

The city’s public works department stocks about 1,000 sandbags at its facility at 1700 D Street.

“I don’t think it will be as bad this time (as New Year’s),” said Public Works Director John Greenhut.

Greenhut said his public works staffers were out on storm patrol checking the drains, which was reminiscent of the scouting by City Manager Dave Jinkens, Streets Superintendent Scott Rogers and Fire Chief Lorenzo Gigliotti during New Year’s.

“My general sense is we have a community that has challenges (with the draining),” Gigliotti said. “We have no regional stormwater management plan.”

Meanwhile, the wet, stormy weather is far from over.

While the basin will see a brief reprieve on Wednesday, a larger and much colder storm is expected to hit the region on Thursday, bringing with it heavy snow that should creep onto the valley floors into Reno and Carson City by Friday.

On Monday, snow levels began at about 8,000 feet and began dropping by afternoon. Snowmelt factored into much of the heavy stream flows around the South Shore.

“Had this storm had snow levels above 9,000 feet, it would have been a much different story,” said Fischer.

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