Will Sierra winter be wet or dry?
While government experts predict much of the country will have a warmer and drier winter than normal, what happens in the Sierra and western Nevada is anyone’s guess.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center this week forecast that with a moderate La Nina in the Pacific, the northwest could see a wet winter, but the southwest and other portions of the country could be warm and dry.
Lake Tahoe and western Nevada are right along the dividing line.
Kelly Redmond of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno said that means it could go either way.
“We’re in this nether region, an in-between land,” Redmond said. “It’s the central part of the teeter totter.”
But after a dismal snowpack last year, ski resorts and water suppliers are hoping for a winter wallop.
So far, Mother Nature has been teasing the region with early fall snowflakes.
A storm system this morning left 2 to 3 inches of snow at lake level and 5 to 6 inches of snow at Heavenly Mountain, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe resorts.
A weak low pressure system will move into the Sierra on Friday bringing a light amount of snow at the higher elevations. Temperatures will warm up after Friday, reach the mid-60s by Sunday, said Tom Cylke, a retired meteorologist who has a column in the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Look for a return of wet and windy weather next week, which could last for several days, he said.
Chains or snow tires were required early this morning over most mountain passes in the Lake Tahoe region, including Kingsbury Grade, Highway 50 and Interstate 80. Most restrictions were lifted by midmorning. The only control at this time is a high wind advisory on Highway 395 through Washoe Valley.
” The Associated Press contributed to this report