Rain, snow turn basin into quagmire | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Rain, snow turn basin into quagmire

Erika Harmon

A wet, heavy snow blanketed South Shore Sunday morning, with very little accumulation reported at the South Lake Tahoe Airport but a ton of slushy buildup throughout town.

California Department of Transportation crews worked all day Sunday to free up drainage problems caused by the soggy snow.

“The slush plugs up our draining facilities and we just have to start all over again,” said Caltrans Supervisor Bryan Carlson.

Worst hit was the “Y” area, according to Carlson, where flooding created problems at 15th Street and near the post office. Wildwood Avenue residents also endured flooding, but Caltrans was able to open drains by early afternoon.

Traffic along U.S. Highway 50 was backed up Sunday afternoon from the top of Echo Summit to the “Y”, and Carlson estimated it was taking motorists a minimum of two hours to make the drive. Caltrans closed the highway at 8:30 Sunday morning due to several small snow slides at the summit. No one was involved in the slides, Carlson said. The highway reopened at about 2:30 p.m.

Warmer-than-normal weather was to blame for the havoc wreaked by the weekend’s storm.

“Temperatures were right around freezing or a little warmer than freezing,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Roger Lamoni.

What came down most of Saturday night and into Sunday was difficult to drive in and even harder to shovel.

But what kept many business owners and residents busy Sunday was small-scale flood control.

“We’ve sold quite a few sump pumps already, and we’ve had a lot of people ask for sand bags,” said Supply One employee Sarah Morgheim.

By midafternoon Sunday, even Supply One had a hard time keeping up with the wet conditions.

“We’re experiencing flooding in our own (lumber) yard,” Morgheim said. “It’s about knee-deep.”

Meteorologist Lamoni said South Shore should start to dry out beginning Tuesday, and sunshine is expected into Friday. Next weekend will likely bring a colder storm that is currently gathering strength just off the coast.

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