Series of storms expected to dump several feet of snow through holiday weekend at Tahoe

A view of South Lake Tahoe Friday morning from Heavenly Mountain Resort.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Gas up those snow blowers and batten down the hatches because another series of storms are expected to bring strong winds, multiple feet of snow and travel and possible ski operation disruptions to the Lake Tahoe region through the holiday weekend.

A weaker system on Friday will kick off several days of stormy weather expected to last beyond the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday and into next week.

Friday’s storm is expected to drop up to 8 inches of snow on the west slope of the Sierra with lighter amounts possible for the basin.

“While this initial system is relatively weak, the snow will exacerbate travel impacts for the evening commute and ski/holiday traffic,” the National Weather Service in Reno said in a special statement.

The service has in place a lake wind advisory for Friday that goes into effect at 10 a.m. and lasts for six hours. Southerly winds will range from 20 to 30 mph with stronger gusts up to 55 mph which could create hazardous waves up to 5 feet for small boats, kayaks and paddle boards.

The strong winds could impact upper mountain chairlifts at area resorts, the service said.

The brunt of the storm hits Saturday where some of the heaviest snowfall and triple digit winds are expected.

The weather service has upgraded its winter storm watch to a warning that goes into effect from 4 a.m. Saturday through 10 a.m. Tuesday. Up to 2 feet of snow is expected for lake level and up to 5 feet is possible above 7,000 feet. 

Wind gusts could reach 100 mph and the combination of heavy snow and wind will create hazardous travel conditions, including possibly closing roads as was the case with the last storm where Interstate 80, SR-88, U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Kingsbury Grade were all closed at some point due to snow, whiteout conditions and avalanche mitigation.

Those traveling during the storms should be prepared for extended stays in your vehicles with extra food, water, warm clothing and tire chains.

For road conditions, call 511 or visit or

The service said there may be a brief lull in the snow intensity to start out Sunday and then picks up again in the evening into Monday bringing another round of heavy snow and travel impacts.

The service said a couple of weaker storms on Tuesday and Wednesday into Thursday will bring more snow, but there may be a light at the end of the snowstorm tunnel for next weekend with quieter, dry conditions in the forecast.

The Lake Tahoe forecast through the holiday weekend.

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