‘Storm train’ heading to Lake Tahoe

The forecast for Lake Tahoe.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Weather advisories are stacking up as the first of a series of storms enters the Lake Tahoe region on Saturday.

Friday offered a bit of a reprieve and time to move as much of the snow as possible to make way for what National Weather Service meteorologist Brittany Whitlam called a “storm train.”

The National Weather Service has delayed by several hours the winter storm warning which now goes into at 7 p.m. and lasts through 4 a.m. Monday. The service said snow will begin to impact travel over mountain passes during the day, but it won’t impact lower elevations until after sunset.

A lake wind advisory goes into effect at 10 a.m. Saturday and lasts to 7 p.m. for southern wind gusts expected to hit 35 mph which could create waves up to 3 feet. Officials say using small boats, kayaks and paddle boards are ill-advised until conditions improve.

The winds will continue to increase past 7 p.m. the service said but is part of the winter storm warning.

The first storm to impact Lake Tahoe this weekend will be cooler with lower snow levels and is forecast to drop up to a foot of snow in the basin with 1 to 2 feet possible above 7,000 feet. Wind gusts will rise to about 90 mph on the Sierra crest.

Immediately after the storm warning advisory ends another storm, larger and warmer, will enter the region. 

The weather service has a storm watch in place in effect starting at 4 a.m. Monday and lasting for 48 hours. This storm is expected to tap into an atmospheric river and the snow level will range from 6,000-8,000 feet. Wild swings in snow accumulations with flooding all on the table.

The service is forecasting up to a foot of snow for the basin and 2 to 5 feet above 7,000 feet.

The city of South Lake Tahoe issued a news release Friday afternoon warning residents and urging them to be prepared for possible flooding due to existing snow and ice on the ground and streams and river basins that are already elevated after numerous storms.

“If the Monday storm turns warm and brings the forecasted 2-2.5 inches or more of rain that also melts snow, we could experience flooding similar to 2017 and prior years,” the release said.

Sandbags are available behind Fire Station No. 3, located at 2101 Lake Tahoe Boulevard and at the search and rescue building at 1834 Santa Fe Road, behind Steve’s Transmission, in Meyers.

Free bags are available but residents should bring their own shovels.

To learn if your home or business is in a flood plain or historic localized flooding area, visit

Flood preparedness tips are available at 

Flooding events in 2017 demonstrate potential impacts.

Preparing for a Flood

Make a plan for your household, including your pets, so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from flooding. Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response. Gather supplies, including non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and water for several days, in case you must leave immediately or if services are cut off in your area.

City flood map

In Case of Emergency

Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies. Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.

In coordination with El Dorado County, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, and the Red Cross, the City is prepared to activate shelter operations in the event of widespread flooding.

Sign up for the City’s emergency warning system by texting your zip code to 38276 or visit

Mountain travel is not advised during these series of storms but if unavoidable, check the road conditions before heading out, and organize an emergency kit with extra food, water, clothing and tire chains as long delays are possible.

The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District offered tips for the home.

In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an invisible odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. Low level CO poisoning can often be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, or headaches.

If you have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys, make sure they are inspected by a professional every year optimally before chilly weather sets in. When using a fireplace, open the flue for adequate ventilation. Never use your oven to heat your home.

Have a covered metal container to dispose of cooled ashes. To obtain a free ash can, residents may fill out an application, available at the Fire District Administration Office, 866 Oriole Way, Incline Village. If the required criteria are met, an ash can will be provided. Please visit our website for more information on our Ash Can program.

General Safety Tips to Consider:

  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Propane heaters, grills, gas-powered generators, and other combustion-fueled devices must not be used indoors or in any enclosed space.
  • If you or a loved one think you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning or experienced any fire danger, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes, or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call 911 from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrive.
  • Be prepared for power outages. Make sure you have enough water, food, and supplies for at least 72 hours.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. 
  • Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.

For road conditions, call 511 or visit or

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