UPDATE: Crystal Bay, Third Creek avalanche alert upgraded to stage 2 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

UPDATE: Crystal Bay, Third Creek avalanche alert upgraded to stage 2

Washoe County has upgraded the avalanche warning for Crystal Bay and the Third Creek area on North Shore to stage 2.

The higher level alert means avalanches could be likely within four to six hours if conditions continue at the same rate.

Washoe County Emergency Manager Aaron Kenneston previously told the Tribune that residents need to quickly decide whether to evacuate or shelter in place once the stage 2 warning goes out.

When a stage 2 warning is issued, road conditions in the paths of the possible avalanches deteriorate.

“That's when we start to let our snow plow drivers know, ‘don’t go into these neighborhoods’ … we don’t want to trigger an avalanche,” Kenneston said.

The stage 2 warning went out via Twitter around 1:46 p.m. Friday.

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ORIGINAL POST: Stage 1 avalanche alert for Crystal Bay, Third Creek area of Lake Tahoe North Shore

Washoe County has issued a stage 1 avalanche alert for Crystal Bay and the Third Creek area on North Shore.

While stage 1 is the lowest level avalanche alert, the county is warning people in those areas to be prepared.

Snowfall intensity and totals, along with strong winds, were more than expected last night, and snow depths are now covering the anchors in Crystal Bay, according to the county’s avalanche expert.

Avalanche warnings could go to stage 2 this afternoon, and stage 3 by nightfall (stage 3 means shelter in place) if the storm continues at this strength throughout the day.

Earlier this month, a similarly-intense storm led to a stage 2 avalanche warning in the Crystal Bay and Third Creek areas.

As previously reported by the Tribune, Washoe County Emergency Manager Aaron Kenneston said he hoped those previous warnings during an otherwise snow-sparse winter would remind residents in the area to be prepared.

A winter storm warning will remain in effect through 5 a.m. Saturday. The Sierra Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for the Lake Tahoe backcountry through 7 a.m. Saturday.