Weather service decreases expected snow totals for winter storm at Lake Tahoe; white-out conditions likely | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Weather service decreases expected snow totals for winter storm at Lake Tahoe; white-out conditions likely

Snow falls on Ski Run Boulevard in mid-February.

The National Weather Service has dropped potential snow totals stemming from a winter storm at Lake Tahoe, however, hazardous conditions are expected to persist the next three days.

While original predictions called for 4-8 feet of snow above 7,000 feet, a Tuesday morning update predicted an additional 2-4 feet of snow at higher elevations. That is in addition to the more than 12 inches that accumulated during the first day of the storm Monday.

Lake level could see 1-2 feet between Tuesday morning and Thursday morning when a winter storm warning expires at 4 a.m.

Heavy snow is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible, especially late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with snowfall rates of 3 inches per hour possible,” the weather service in Reno warns. “Very strong winds could cause tree damage and periods of whiteout conditions.”

A lull in heavier snow is possible Wednesday afternoon and evening.

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Snow is only one aspect of the storm. Winds ranging from 30-50 mph are possible at times. Gusts over the Sierra ridge could exceed 100 mph, according to the weather service.

“Periods of white-out conditions are likely, especially in the higher elevations.”

An avalanche warning from the Sierra Avalanche Center remains in effect until 7 a.m. Thursday.

As of Tuesday morning, avalanche danger in the Lake Tahoe backcountry was “high,” according to the avalanche center.

"Heavy snow and gale force winds will create dangerous avalanche conditions. Expect a mix of wind slab and storm slab avalanche problems affecting all elevations. Natural avalanches and human-triggered avalanches are expected. Some avalanches may be large and destructive."