Stormy Monday, and Tuesday could be just as bad
If you’re tired of putting chains on your car or snowblowing out your driveway, don’t worry – there’s light at the end of this whiteout.
“We’ve had a series of storms that have affected you folks up there. It looks like the last one is getting ready to come off the coast, and it will continue through Tuesday. Things should begin to improve by the end of (Tuesday),” said Steve Goldstein, a forecaster for the National Weather Service Reno office. “The rest of the week looks really good. Wednesday and Thursday look to be dry. Friday, also.”
Several inches of snow at locations below 7,000 feet and a couple of feet at higher elevations was expected to fall last night and today, continuing the storm that started Saturday.
Snow constantly fell Monday on Lake Tahoe. From 7 a.m. to noon, Oasis Aviation at the Lake Tahoe Airport recorded 8 inches in in the five-hour period.
“I’m sure, as of tomorrow, we’ll have a lot more than that,” said Lee Brown of Oasis Aviation.
The new snow is adding to an already above-normal Tahoe snowpack, which stood at 127 percent of average last week.
Over the weekend at high elevations, 4 feet of snow fell in some areas and wind gusts reached 125 mph. A winter storm warning has been in effect since Saturday.
Chains or snow tires were required on all trans-Sierra roadways, including Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. 50 over Echo Summit. U.S. Highway 50 was closed off and on over the weekend for avalanche control measures, said Pat Miller, Caltrans spokeswoman. Whether closures could occur today, Miller did not know.
“The potential is always there,” she said.
The U.S. Forest Service also has issued an avalanche warning for the backcountry along the east side of the Sierra Nevada, from Highway 49 at Yuba Pass to Highway 108 at Sonora Pass. Above 6,000 feet, avalanche hazard is considered high, meaning mostly unstable snow exists in the backcountry. Avalanches are likely on steep, snow-covered open slopes and gullies. Backcountry travel should be avoided, according to the Forest Service.
The number of people visiting to Kirkwood Ski Resort in Alpine County was limited over the weekend because of some road closures. However, resort officials are happy to see the snow.
“It’s not advantageous for it to fall on a weekend like it did,” said Tania Magidson, Kirkwood spokeswoman. “But it’s good because it gets people excited to come out when it clears up. New snow, in the long run, is always a good thing.”
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to a few weather-related traffic accidents on South Shore on Monday, said Sgt. Lance Modispacher. None of them were serious, however. The South Lake Tahoe Police Department also responded to several weather-related, non-injury accidents over the past few days, said Sgt. Alex Schumacher.
On North Shore, the Washoe County and Tahoe/Truckee Unified School districts canceled school Monday. Class was still in session on the South Shore, however.
“Although we use the same criteria, the conditions on a daily basis really differ from their district to ours,” said Steve Morales, director of facilities and transportation for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. Morales said South Lake Tahoe’s district encompasses a much more “consistent” area. The Tahoe/Truckee Unified School District includes a wide variety of terrain, including roads past Tahoe City and up around Donner Summit.
“We’re very careful about our call. When we call a snow day, it probably has significant impact on our community here,” Morales said. “But our first concern is always safety.”
While Sierra Pacific Power Company had little problem providing power to South Shore for the weekend, the utility company experienced two power outages about 4 p.m. Monday, according to Karl Walquist, spokesman for Sierra Pacific.
An outage on upper Kingsbury left about 1,000 customers without power for an hour and a half, and a tree that fell across some wires on Sawmill Road caused a South Lake Tahoe outage that took power from about 5,300 customers in the Gardner Mountain, South “Y,” Emerald Bay Road, Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Upper Truckee Road areas. By 5:50 p.m. all but about 35 had their power restored.
For road closures and chain requirements, call (775) 793-1313 or (800) 427-ROAD
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