Storms taking aim at Lake Tahoe; Advisories in place through weekend
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Roads are icy and chain controls are in effect Wednesday morning at Lake Tahoe from an appetizer storm that dropped a few inches of snow, with much more on the way.
The mild storm was an introduction to a cold and stormy period that will continue through the end of February and into the beginning of March, said the National Weather Service in Reno. Several rounds of snow at all elevations will lead to widespread travel difficulties, especially in the Sierra.
Chains are required Wednesday on every mountain pass and highway in the basin except on U.S. Highway 50 from Meyers through South Lake Tahoe and from the “Y” through Camp Richardson on State Route 89.
As one storm exits the region, several more are on its heels.
The weather service has issued a winter weather advisory that goes into effect at noon Wednesday and lasts through 4 a.m. on Friday. Over those couple of days up to 20 inches of snow is possible above 7,000 feet near and west of State Route 89 and 3 to 10 inches at lake level.
Winds will gust as high as 75 mph along Sierra ridgelines with gusts up to 35 mph in the basin leading to rough conditions on the lake with waves up to 4 feet.
“There may be big differences in snow totals over short distances due to the showery nature of the storm today through Thursday,” the service said. “Showers will be most prevalent in the afternoon hours today and again midday Thursday through Thursday night, with snow becoming steady Friday morning.”
The service also has in place a winter storm watch that goes into effect at 4 a.m. Friday and lasts through Saturday morning for another round of snow. Total snow accumulations will range from 6 to 16 inches.
With winds gusting up to 60 mph, travel could be very difficult to impossible and travelers should be prepared for extended delays.
Temperatures through Friday will struggle to reach 30 during the day with overnight lows in the single digits, and subzero temps in colder Sierra valleys. Blustery winds will make it feel even colder, with dangerous wind chills in exposed areas of the high Sierra dipping as low as minus-30.
The service added that cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
From Sunday into next week, a few snow showers are possible on Sunday, but the service said it also looks like the best “break” in the active weather pattern before a “classic” winter storm emerges in the evening and is expected to last through at least Wednesday.
The service said guidance is already showing a 60% chance of exceeding 2 feet of snow in the Sierra.
“The lower end of ensemble ranges continues to increase in value as well,” the service said. “Be prepared for periods of moderate to heavy snow and a high likelihood of significant travel impacts.”
For road conditions, call 511 or visit https://www.nvroads.com or http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov.
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