Winter storm watch issued for Tahoe; Foot of snow possible for mountains

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After the rain and snow showers move out of Lake Tahoe Tuesday morning, the basin will have about a 36-hour break before the next colder, quick-hitting storm impacts the region.

The recent storm brought mostly rain to the basin but a few inches of snow fell at higher elevations and chain controls are in effect Tuesday morning on Nevada State Route 431 from Diamond Peak to Mount Rose Summit.

The National Weather Service in Reno on Monday afternoon issued a winter storm watch that goes into effect Wednesday afternoon and lasts through Thursday evening due to possible heavy snow.

The service expects accumulations at lake level to range from 3 to 10 inches and more than a foot is possible above 7,000 feet.

The service in Tuesday morning’s forecast discussion said there is a 30-40% chance for 4 inches and 15-20% chance for 6 inches at lake level.

“While these numbers appear rather lackluster, the main takeaway is that even light accumulations can produce messy travel impacts which appear most likely during the Thursday morning commute,” the service said.

Lake-effect snow is also possible southeast of Lake Tahoe Thursday evening as very cold air rides over the relatively warm lake surface and could add to the snow accumulation.

“Lake-effect snow bands with localized heavy snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour will be possible southeast of area lakes,” the service said. “This looks particularly favorable downwind of Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe Thursday evening.”

Winds will also strengthen with the storm with gusts up to 60 mph.

Traveling during the storm may be difficult and motorists are advised to have an emergency kit prepared that includes tire chains, extra food, water and clothing.

Cold temperatures will also accompany the storm. The high for Thursday is not expected to go above freezing with the overnight low about 15.

The storm clears out and Friday will be sunny, but cool with highs about 29 and lows in the high teens possible below zero for some valley areas. Wind gusts of 20-30 mph will make it feel colder.

The temps start to rise on Saturday with a high of 37 and a low about 27.

A chance of snow returns to the forecast on Sunday into Monday.

South Lake Tahoe received .20 inches of rain on Monday. No precipitation was recorded on the other side of the lake in Tahoe City.

Chain controls are in effect Tuesday morning on Mount Rose Highway.

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