Lake Tahoe weather: Over ½ foot of snow possible at higher elevations by Thursday morning

Spring snow accumulates in this April 2015 file photo.
Isaac Brambila / Tribune file photo

If you were planning on hitting the beach in the coming days, you’re going to want to change your plans.

A blast of cold, winter-like weather has arrived in the Tahoe Basin and is expected to linger into the start of next week. Elevations above 8,000 feet could see more than half a foot of snow by Thursday morning.

As the National Weather Service in Reno noted in a special weather statement, the weather is more typical of early March than late May.

“Expect periods of rain, mountain snow, and strong gusty winds.”

The heaviest precipitation is expected from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

Wednesday’s high temperature could climb to 49 degrees in South Lake Tahoe. The low is expected to fall to 39 degrees, meaning lake level should expect rain initially.

The view at Timber Cove Wednesday morning.
Tahoe South

However, temperatures will remain abnormally cold — 15 to 25 degrees below the typical temperature — Thursday.

“This is when snow levels will drop below 7,000 and mountains will see a transition from rain to snow by early Thursday morning, but roads may still be warm and may initially have a difficult time accumulating snow on (them),” states the weather service.

The Tahoe Basin could see up to 3 inches of snow between 7,000 and 8,000 feet and anywhere from 2-7 inches of snow above 8,000 feet by Thursday morning.

South of Tahoe, Mono County could see 8-15 inches of snow above 8,500 feet.

Thursday’s high temperature is expected to reach 42 degrees in South Lake Tahoe, while the low will drop to a chilly 33 degrees.

Light showers will continue through the day and night into Friday morning.

An additional 2-5 inches of snow could accumulate at higher elevations.

Despite the lower precipitation totals compared to Wednesday’s system, Thursday will likely see the best chance of travel impacts on mountain passes.

Officials say motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions into next week.

“Anyone with travel plans over the Sierra through next Tuesday should prepare for occasional winter driving conditions including chain controls and plan for extra travel time,” the weather service cautions. “Open Sierra pass roads could have snow accumulation issues especially at night or in the early morning. With persistent windy conditions, rough air should be expected through the weekend with increased turbulence and impacts to high profile vehicles on wind prone roads.”

Friday will remain colder than normal with a high temperature around 45 degrees and low around 33 degrees. The weather service says there is a 40 percent chance of precipitation Friday.

Colder temperatures and a slight chance of precipitation will continue through the weekend.

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