Weekend storm trends wetter, could drop more than 2 feet of snow at Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A weak storm today will bring a few light snow showers and gusty winds with a more potent weekend system headed to Lake Tahoe that could drop a couple feet of snow and bring widespread travel difficulties.
The National Weather Service has a lake wind advisory in effect through 7 p.m. Friday for sustained winds in the 15-20 mph range with gusts up to 35 mph that could create 3-foot waves on the lake.
After the system moves out there will be a break for much of Saturday before another storm enters the region in the evening.
The service has been tracking the upcoming weekend storm for several days and the forecast has trended wetter over the last few days.
The service on Thursday afternoon issued a winter storm watch for Tahoe that goes into effect at 7 p.m. Saturday and lasts through 10 p.m. Sunday. Total snow accumulations are expected to range from 4 to 16 inches in the basin and 15 to 28 inches above 7,000 feet.
Stronger winds will also accompany the snow with gusts up to 40 mph at lake level leading to 4-foot waves, and on Sierra ridges gusts could hit 100 mph.
Travel difficulties will be widespread. The service said the biggest impacts will happen late Saturday through daybreak Sunday with the potential for 2-3 inches of snow per hour which could lead to whiteout and deteriorating road conditions.
After the main cold front passes a secondary “shortwave” will keep the snow bands going through much of Sunday, continuing the travel difficulties.
Small boats, kayaks and paddle boards will be prone to capsizing in the rough waters and are advised to stay off the lake until conditions improve.
The storm also has a 15% chance the storm will produce thunder midday Sunday along the Sierra crest.
Looking into next week, high pressure is expected to build. Another weak system is possible around Wednesday/Thursday, Feb. 8-9. Looking further ahead, the service said additional storms could return but signals “aren’t particularly strong at this time.”
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