Spring snow hits South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Spring snow hits South Lake Tahoe

Isaac Brambila
Snow is accumulated on a small pine tree Monday morning at Matheson and Fair drives following a Sunday snowstorm that accumulated little more than an inch of snow in town.
Isaac Brambila/Tahoe Daily Tribune |

An unexpected cold front and snow came to Tahoe following expert predictions that any snowfall after April first was unlikely.

The snow also came in the midst of one of the warmest and driest snow seasons on record.

On Sunday, snow fell finely but consistently throughout the day, yielding 1.1 inches of snow in town, according to data from the National Weather Service. Though the snow managed to cover roofs, cars and a lot of ground around town, most of it did not stick on pavement.

Tuesday morning, town was free of new snow, but at about 10:30 a.m. snow was beginning to finely float around in roughly 28-mph wind. By noon, snow was falling strongly and had begun to cover cars and rooftops.

The snow fell as predicted following a National Weather Service winter weather advisory that went into effect from 5 a.m. Tuesday and remain in effect until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Snow showers were expected to intensify Tuesday afternoon and night. The storm was anticipated to bring an additional 3-to-6 inches of snow below 6,000 feet and 6-to-12 inches above 7,000 feet.

Warnings were also issued for highways 50, 89, 88, 431 and 267, where road conditions were reported slick and icy.

The Weather Service also predicted a 30-percent chance that snow will continue to fall into Wednesday, with little-to-no additional snow accumulation.

The snowfall came unexpectedly and late in the snow season for the Tahoe area. It also followed a snow survey on April 1 that reflected now snow at Phillip’s station near Sierra-At-Tahoe Road, during which Gov. Jerry Brown announced a historic executive order for water restrictions expected to reduce water consumption in the state by 25 percent.

Additionally, the region also experienced a drop in temperature, breaking a streak that had yielded two months that recorded record-breaking high temperatures.

Temperatures during the beginning of April have largely remained within the region’s normal highs and lows of roughly 25 and 52 degrees, with the exception of the highest temperature so far of 58 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The highest April temperature on record was recorded on April 30, 1981, when it was 76 degrees. The highest temperatures on record for each respective day of April range between the high 60s and low-to-mid 70s.

Following similar storms, Chief of Snow Surveys of the California Department of Water Resources Frank Gehrke previously said that the help limited snowstorms can offer the drought situation are minimal, as most of the snow will likely melt quickly and feed into the ground, avoiding contributions to reservoirs.

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