Lake Tahoe weather: Flood watch to take effect as atmospheric river moves into region |

Lake Tahoe weather: Flood watch to take effect as atmospheric river moves into region

Strong winds whip up waves on Lake Tahoe at Eldorado Beach.
Ryan Hoffman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

As if a winter storm warning wasn’t enough, the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the greater Lake Tahoe region.

The flood watch will take effect starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday when a “moderate to strong” atmospheric river could bring significant precipitation to the region, according to NWS. The flood watch will remain in effect into Thursday evening.

“This storm will be the first true test of the hydrologic system this season after the extreme conditions last season followed by a hot and dry summer and fall,” NWS wrote in its flood watch post.

The downpour could cause creeks and streams to rise rapidly, leading to flooding. Mainstream rivers also are expected to rise significantly, but NWS does not anticipate much, if any, flooding.

“The most significant rises on major rivers is expected on the Truckee River near Truckee, which has the potential to see minor flooding.”

Increased runoff could be possible in areas recently struck by wildfires and burns.

The city of South Lake Tahoe issued a reminder that sandbags are available to residents year-round. They are available at the city’s public works yard, at 1160 Rufus Allen Blvd., and the South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue station No. 3, at 2101 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

While lower-elevation areas have experienced rain through much of Wednesday, areas such as Donner and Mount Rose summits have seen snowfall.

A winter storm warning is still set to take effect at 4 p.m. Wednesday and last through 4 a.m. Friday. The storm could bring heavy wet snow to higher elevations in addition to strong winds.

Above 8,000 feet could see 2 to 3 feet of snow accumulation. Accumulation below 7,500 feet remain much more uncertain — it depends on how quickly snow levels fall Thursday. NWS states that lower elevations could see 4 or more inches.

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