Winter’s return: 3-day storm boosts snowpack, more snow in forecast |

Winter’s return: 3-day storm boosts snowpack, more snow in forecast

Winter made a strong comeback this week at Lake Tahoe.

After weeks of the occasional mild snowfall measured in inches, the basin has been buried in multiple feet of snow, and there is more in the forecast for next week.

The National Weather Service in Reno issued a rare Blizzard Warning that went into effect on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and ended this morning at 4 a.m.

Before the multi-day storm hit the basin, the Tahoe snowpack was at about 53% of average, but officials say this storm could boost that number by over 20%.

“It’s going to help a lot, it won’t put us over a normal amount but it will get us closer,” said Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist with the Nevada Resources Conservation Service who performs the snow surveys during the season. “As of midnight Thursday morning we are at 68%.”

Anderson expected that when the storm finally blows out of the region that the snowpack will be about 70-75% of median.

“A good recovery considering we’re over half way through winter,” he said.

The three-day storm totals are showing several feet of snowfall.

Sierra-at-Tahoe received 10 inches from Thursday into Friday and recorded about 42 inches overall.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort capped off the storm with 16 inches and totaled about three and a half feet.

After receiving about 4 feet over the first two days, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe finished with a bit more and totaled about 55 inches.

Sugar Bowl capped off the storm with 9 inches and recorded 4 feet over the three days.

South of Tahoe down Highway 395 Mammoth Mountain recorded almost 9 feet over the three days.

The highest snow rates were from Wednesday overnight into Thursday morning where snow fell at about 2-3 inches per hour.

The NWS early in the week warned motorists not to travel into the mountains this week, calling it a “life threatening situation.”

Caltrans during the storm has been routinely performing avalanche mitigation on Echo Summit and Carson Pass area near Kirkwood. Cannon blasts could be heard on the South Shore from blasting the hillsides on U.S. Highway 50.

California State Route 89 is closed at Emerald Bay due to avalanche concerns.

The basin will get a break in between storms on Saturday and Sunday as the sun pops out. Tahoe will likely see a lot of visitors this weekend with nice weather and the resorts shaping up to be in prime condition for skiing and riding.

The next storm is expected to push into the basin on Monday afternoon through Tuesday and it could also produce up to 3 feet of snow at the highest elevations.

The Tahoe Daily Snow is forecasting 5-14 inches at lake level and over 2 feet at about 8,000 feet.

After the storm moves out, the basin may enter a drier period for the rest of the week and into the first week in February.

For information on road conditions, call 5-1-1, or visit or

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