Winter teases Tahoe |

Winter teases Tahoe

Sarah Gonser

Sleet and rain hit fast and furious this weekend as storms swept across the Sierra Nevada, leaving snow and slush in its wake.

South Shore residents woke up Sunday to find snow on their lawns, cars and roof tops. A half-inch of snow was reported this weekend at the Lake Tahoe Airport.

Despite the implications of early snowstorms to unprepared drivers and residents, businesses welcomed the cold snap because it brought in more customers.

“It’s been great for business,” said Allyson Leon, working Sunday afternoon at Rude Brothers Bagel & Coffee Haus. “It brings people in for hot drinks and food. People were here for about two hours today, just camping out.”

Heavenly Ski Resort, which opened Oct. 18 with 6 inches of machine-made snow, reported that about 200 skiers braved the storm Saturday afternoon to enjoy the 2 inches of new snow that fell above 7,500 feet.

Apparently, there were also a lot of homebodies this weekend. Diane Monette, administration manager at Video Library, was surprised at how early the cold weather hit.

“Usually our business picks up in November, but this Saturday we got slammed. Usually Saturday is video return day, but not this Saturday. It’s like everyone got scared and wanted to stay in and watch movies.”

Monette’s husband David, a salesperson at Napa Auto Parts, said the company just received shipment of several thousand sets of chains, which, he said, are selling like hot cakes.

“We got a lot of business Saturday, the tourists are getting all panicky, like, ‘It’s raining, I need chains.'”

Saturday, the National Weather Service cautioned motorists to drive carefully and pack chains and emergency supplies in their cars. Saturday afternoon, after several minor accidents, the California Highway Patrol required drivers on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit to either have snow tires or chains.

It proved a good precaution. By Sunday, neither the California or the Nevada Highway Patrol had any major damage or accidents to report and the road advisories were lifted. Scattered rain and sleet continued Sunday with strong wind gusts, but no snow was reported below 6,000 feet.

The National Weather Service forecasts that the cold snap won’t last long. Snow is unlikely below 6,700 feet for the upcoming week, however scattered rain showers are expected. The storms should clear by today. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a slight temperature increase, with highs around 45 and lows around 30.

Tuesday’s forecast calls for patchy night and morning fog with increased clouds and chance of rain later in the day. Temperature lows are expected to be in the mid-20s to lower-40s. The forecast for Wednesday is mostly cloudy with likely rain showers. Thursday should be clearer with some sun.

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