Winter storm warning extended through Wednesday for Tahoe; Heavy snow, rain to continue

A renewed round of rain and snow begins on Monday for Lake Tahoe bring possible flooding and structural concerns.
Hannah Pence/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The stormy weather will continue into next week as another atmospheric river is poised to pound Lake Tahoe bringing renewed flooding, snow load and avalanche issues.

The National Weather Service in Reno has extended its winter storm warning through 5 p.m. Wednesday but the flood watch in effect since Thursday is set to expire at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The multi-day rain on snow storm has loaded the snowpack on area homes and businesses and has collapsed multiple structures, including a carport at a former business, the roof over gas pumps at Swiss Mart gas station which led to a fire, partially collapsing a seven-unit apartment complex and on Saturday forced the closure of the Raley’s near Heavenly Village due to structural issues.

Tahoe ski resorts received between 1 to 2 feet overnight and the rain and snow showers are expected to continue into Sunday afternoon for most areas in the region with the snow levels fluctuating around 6,500 feet in the basin.

The resorts will be open Sunday, some will have delayed opening and will likely have operational impacts throughout the day due to the storm.

“Heavenly will have a DELAYED OPENING today,” the resort posted on social media. “It will take time for our Mtn Ops teams to do snow/ice removal and snow safety work.”

“10″ overnight at mid-mountain and snow level around 6400 (rain/snow mix at base),” said Palisades Tahoe. “SW winds 15-25 mph. 16 lifts scheduled/expect delays and changes.”

Light winds on Sunday morning will increase slightly this afternoon with Sierra ridges staying breezy around 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

The Sierra Avalanche Center has an avalanche warning in effect through 7 a.m. Monday, and may be renewed with another storm on the way.

The service said another atmospheric river, a bit cooler with lower snow levels than the previous one, enters the region late Monday and will last through Wednesday.

The storm warning said snow levels will vary between 6,000 to 6,500 feet through Monday, then rise between 7,500 to 8,000 feet Tuesday afternoon before falling below 6,000 feet Wednesday morning. The heaviest snowfall rates are expected on Tuesday.

Additional snow accumulation of 4 to 12 inches are expected at lake level and in Truckee through Monday, some areas will receive 1 to 2 feet, with 2 to 4 feet possible above 7,000 feet.

Accumulations Tuesday and Wednesday include 4 to 12 inches at lake level and Truckee with 1 to 3 feet above 7,000 feet.

Those traveling in the mountains should prepare for significant impacts, including long delays over mountain passes and possible road closures through Wednesday.

Chains are required on most highways Sunday at Tahoe, except on U.S. Highway 50 from Meyers to Stateline.

For current road conditions call 511 or visit or

The service is also warning that snow loading on structures will likely continue with the next atmospheric river event.

“Snow loading on structures will likely continue with this next AR due to heavy rainfall being absorbed by the already existing deep snowpack, especially for areas below 7,000 feet in the Lake Tahoe Basin and below 8,000 feet in the Eastern Sierra,” the service said. “There will also be a higher risk of roofalanches in these areas.”

The service said a break from the weather is possible on Thursday with the active pattern returning Friday into next weekend.

“Beyond the long range, the storm door at this time looks to remain open, with guidance hinting of a storm next Sunday into Monday,” the service said.

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