After weeks of waiting on the snow, forecast for the Tahoe area calls for a series of storm systems moving through the area until Monday.
“Over the last few weeks, we have had a high pressure ridge sitting over us and the systems are finally starting to push through,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Pike. “Each system will have a better chance of bringing moisture instead of it evaporating before it hits the ground.”
Tahoe residents can expect the heaviest of the systems moving through during the next week on Thursday.
“The best system looks like it like it will be late Wednesday and Thursday,” Pike said. “It is going to be our best chance of heavy precipitation and that will probably bring 6 inches. We would like to see some more computer runs before we have a closer estimate.”
The snow started early Monday and had already caused a number of accidents by afternoon.
“I think there were four spin outs and a couple of breakdowns,” said Norm Butts of California Department of Transportation.
“I heard (the Caltrans workers) talking at lunchtime that most of the accidents (involved) four-wheel-drive vehicles,” said Shelley Piscitelli.
Chain requirements were in effect Monday from 9 to 10 a.m. Caltrans went on a heightened state of alert with the week’s wintry forecast.
“We started our 12-hour shifts Sunday at 8 p.m. in anticipation of the weather forecast that said we were going to start getting snow Sunday evening,” Butts said. “We will probably stay there the rest of the week as long as we see these storms coming in every day.”
“Last year, starting Jan. 13, we averaged one foot per day (of snow) until March 1, so that just shows the power of the Sierra storms,” Megan Moore of Sierra-at-Tahoe commented Monday. “We have received two-and three-quarter’s inches and it is dumping right now. It is officially a winter storm, and our parking lot has gone from asphalt to white.”
Moore said the lack of winter weather may have actually helped bring vacationers over the holidays.
“We had one of the best holiday seasons ever,” Moore said. “I think that the clear weather people felt really comfortable driving up here.”