Wind, storm advisories issued for Lake Tahoe; Active weather expected through New Year

A view of Lake Tahoe Monday morning from Heavenly Mountain Resort.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A potent atmospheric river storm will impact the Sierra with possibly damaging winds, heavy rain and high elevation snow starting Monday, the first in a series of systems expected to last through the New Years holiday weekend.

Christmas day on Sunday may be a good time to secure holiday decorations and anything that could blow away with the National Weather Service in Reno issuing a high wind watch and also a winter storm watch for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The wind advisory, in effect from 10 p.m. Monday through 1 p.m. Tuesday, calls for sustained southwest winds in the 25-35 mph range with gusts up to 60 mph and well over 100 mph for Sierra ridges.

The service warns that strong winds could blow down trees and power lines and widespread outages are possible. The wind gusts are also expected to impact air travel as well for high profile vehicles on area highways. Waves on Lake Tahoe could reach up to 5 feet creating dangerous boating conditions.

“The best thing to do is prepare ahead of time by making sure you have extra food and water on hand, flashlights with spare batteries and/or candles in the event of a power outage,” the advisory said.

Weather officials have dialed in the rain/snow forecast for Tahoe as the system approaches and issued an advisory for heavy snow that will disrupt travel over mountain passes. 

The advisory, which goes into effect at 1 p.m. Tuesday and lasts through 10 a.m. Wednesday, says 3 to 6 inches of snow are possible at Lake Tahoe with 6 to 12 inches above 7,000 feet and 10 to 20 inches above 8,000 feet.

“Snow levels will fall to 7,000 feet by mid to late Tuesday afternoon and then to 5,000 feet by daybreak on Wednesday,” the advisory said. “Heavy, wet Sierra cement character snow is expected.”

If traveling in the mountains be prepared for delays with tire chains, extra food and water and clothing. Once the storm arrives, travel may be difficult or impossible for an extended period of time.

The service said later next week more storm systems are possible.

“A stout jet across the entirety of the Pacific Basin will be the gift that keeps on giving as it delivers additional waves of moisture across the west coast,” the service said. “Potentially up to three additional waves of moisture will be possible before the New Year with systems possible again on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and additional waves arriving through the first week of January. Timing of these upcoming storms are still to be determined, although it’s becoming likely that they will be cooler and wetter than our upcoming storm on Tuesday.”

Wind and storm advisories have been issued for Lake Tahoe.
A view of Lake Tahoe Christmas morning from Edgewood Tahoe.

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