White Christmas for Lake Tahoe
December 25, 2003
By Susan Wood
Tribune staff writer
Thursday may go down as a snowy Christmas to remember for many South Shore residents.
The Lake Tahoe region picked up more than a foot of snow Christmas Eve and into the day, giving renewed meaning to the holiday song “White Christmas” that was performed by Bing Crosby and written by Irving Berlin.
It was the first time South Shore residents had a White Christmas since a trace was recorded in 1997 and a half-inch teased the area three years before. The only other measurable snowfall consisted of 3 inches that descended on the South Shore in 1979.
“It seems to snow on Dec. 26 a lot,” said Michelle Chambers of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno.
Recommended Stories For You
Kirkwood Mountain Resort reported deep powder ski conditions Christmas Day with a 175-inch base. More than 3 feet came down in the last few days.
While residents and tourists were either out playing or negotiating slick roads at the lake Christmas Eve and day, Mother Nature showed no signs of messing around. Clouds dumped the majority of the 11-to-19 inches from lake level to above 8,000 feet in the first 12 hours of the overnight deluge.
The National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning over Christmas. The forecast calls for a chance of snow showers through the weekend. Over the holiday, Highway 50 was temporarily closed over Echo Summit for avalanche controls Thursday morning. Due to weather conditions, a Calstar air ambulance was unable to transport victims out of the basin following a traffic collision west of Cave Rock that temporarily closed the highway for about an hour. Chain requirements went into effect over the mountain passes.
City plow driver Greg Fisk was simply satisfied more vehicles stayed in garages and on driveways over the holiday.
“It’s not too bad. I thought it would be worse,” he said, referring to the traffic.
A drastic departure from the two days leading up to Christmas, the Raley’s parking lot at the “Y” was empty. Few people were out walking on the major thoroughfares.
Fisk, who was out clearing Los Angeles Avenue at midday, got out of bed at his Gardnerville home at 3:30 a.m. He had a heads-up notice from his department the night before to be prepared for deep snow. He also stayed glued to the Weather Channel.
The driver said it was an OK day because people seemed more cooperative with him.
“Everybody was happy to see me. I think it must be the Christmas spirit,” he said.
Longtime resident and postal worker Tom Millham shared his enthusiasm.
“For those who are not as fortunate as those of us who live in God’s country, believe me, it is times like this that keep us loving our existence here,” he said.