Weather service dials in forecast, possible major snow event on horizon for Tahoe

Staff Report
A view of Lake Tahoe Wednesday morning from Heavenly Mountain Resort.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Snow accumulations for the storm approaching Lake Tahoe have tapered off a bit, but weather officials are eyeing a cold, slow-moving system that is developing off the west coast that could dump feet of snow early next week.

The National Weather Service in Reno on Tuesday evening issued a winter weather advisory that goes into effect at 8 p.m. Wednesday and lasts through 4 p.m. Thursday.

Expected snow accumulations have dropped slightly from Tuesday with 2-7 inches possible for lake level and 6-12 inches above 7,000 feet.

Strong winds gusting up to 40 mph, and 60 mph on ridgetops, will create hazardous conditions on the lake with waves up to 4 feet.

Officials advise against traveling in the mountains during the weather event due to snow possibly creating major travel delays. If traveling, leave extra space between cars, carry chains and an emergency kit with extra food, water and clothing and check road conditions by calling 511.

The long range forecast is promising for a large snow event.

In the service’s forecast discussion Wednesday morning, officials say multiple simulations are showing a cold, slow-moving system tapping into an atmospheric river that impacts the region as early as Sunday. The AR tap looks to be on the lower end, but the slow-moving nature gives the storm the potential for significant snow accumulations.

While still in the long range, “the trend is increasing even in the lower end scenarios that feet of snowfall will be possible across the Sierra,” the service said. “We will get a better sense for expected totals over the coming days. So it is increasingly likely we could see several days of significant and prolonged impacts across the Sierra as early as Sunday and extending even into next Wednesday.”

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