Red Flag Warning in effect before snowstorm enters Tahoe Basin |

Red Flag Warning in effect before snowstorm enters Tahoe Basin

Lake Tahoe is about to receive its first snow of the season, but ahead of any precipitation there is extreme fire risk.

The National Weather Service in Reno issued a Red Flag Warning, Lake Wind Advisory and a Special Weather Statement for the “critically” dry conditions ahead of a cold front that could drop about a half foot of snow at lake level.

The Red Flag Warning goes into effect at 10 p.m. Thursday and lasts through 9 a.m. Friday.

Behind the fire weather, a cold front enters the basin Friday morning bringing gusty winds, much colder temperatures and chances for rain and snow showers. 

NWS said that this storm does appear to change the weather pattern that may possibly stick around through much of November with the potential for lingering cold temperatures and maybe even additional chances for rain and snow.

Wind will increase significantly Thursday into Friday morning with a quick burst of winds that may produce areas of blowing dust and choppy lake conditions. Gusts up to 45 mph are possible for most areas, with up to 60 mph in wind prone spots, and up to 100 mph for exposed areas along the Sierra Crest.

Afternoon temperatures will drop significantly from Friday to Saturday, with western Nevada and Sierra Nevada in the 30s and 40s. Overnight lows will be well below freezing with a few single digit and sub zero readings possible in the colder Sierra valleys.

The high Friday at the lake will be around 43 before dropping into the low 20s overnight. After the temperature drops Friday night, it isn’t expected to get above freezing for the rest of the weekend.

NWS said a quick burst of rain and snow is likely behind the cold front Friday with a couple inches of snow possible above 6,000 feet.

“While light snow showers are likely most of the weekend with little accumulation, a second burst of accumulating snow may occur Sunday morning,” NWS in its statement. “Sunday is currently the best shot at lower valley snowfall accumulations.”

From Saturday night into Sunday NWS said Lake Tahoe can expect 3-7 inches of snow.

The wind advisory is in effect from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Waves are expected to reach up to 4 feet which could wreak havoc for small boats, kayaks and paddle boards.

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