Winter storm, strong winds headed for Tahoe Basin |

Winter storm, strong winds headed for Tahoe Basin

A view of Lake Tahoe Monday morning from Zephyr Cove.
Provided /

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A winter storm is headed for the Lake Tahoe Basin this week that will bring strong wind, possibly over a foot of snow for the mountains and maybe nothing but rain at lake level.

The National Weather Service in Reno issued a Winter Storm Watch on Sunday that goes into effect Tuesday afternoon and lasts through Wednesday afternoon above 6,500 feet. Officials expect up to 6 inches of heavy, wet Sierra cement type of snow between 6,500 and 7,000 feet and 12 to 18 inches at elevations above.

Officials also issued a High Wind Warning that goes into effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday and lasts through 4 p.m.

Winds could gust as high as 60 mph with over 100 mph for exposed Sierra ridges, before decreasing in the evening as precipitation moves in. Steady 20-35 mph winds are expected. The strongest winds in the Tahoe area below ridges are likely to be in the South Lake area, the Martis Valley, and on slopes west of Lake Tahoe, officials said.

Tuesday will be mostly sunny with a high of 56 before dropping to freezing in the evening. On Wednesday the high will be in the low 40s before dropping into the lows 20s.

The snow will create hazardous conditions that could impact Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning commutes. Strong winds could cause tree and power line damage with blowing snow possibly reducing visibility on roads Tuesday evening.

Be sure to have a travel kit in the car that includes tire chains, extra food, water and warm clothing. Travel over mountain passes could be difficult or even impossible for a period of time, officials said.

With the expected high wind, now is the time to secure loose outdoor furniture, holiday decorations and trash cans.

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