Lake Tahoe weather: Snow, rain, avalanches, mudslides and more possible this week
February 20, 2017
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The latest in a series of wet winter storms could bring an additional 5 feet of snow at upper elevation areas across the region — as well as the potential for several inches of rain and flooding at lake level.
A winter storm warning that began overnight Sunday will remain in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday for the greater Tahoe-Truckee region, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.
Above 7,500 feet, 2 to 5 feet of snow could fall, according to NWS, while 8 to 24 inches of snow is forecast between 6,500 and 7,500 feet. Below 6,500 feet, as much as 8 inches could fall, mostly on Tuesday.
The heaviest snow will likely be west of Highway 89 and along the Sierra crest.
Wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph will be the norm Monday and Tuesday at lower elevations, with Sierra ridge gusts over 100 mph likely — and peak gusts of up to 150 mph possible Monday night, according to NWS.
"Heavy snow will create dangerous conditions, with travel being severely impacted over the Sierra passes," according to NWS. "Snowfall rates will exceed 2 inches per hour at times, producing whiteout conditions over the passes and in the backcountry."
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Meanwhile, NWS has also issued a flood watch for the greater Tahoe-Truckee region, which remains in effect all day Monday and into Tuesday morning.
"Moderate to heavy rain along with snow melt below 7,000 feet will contribute to increasing flows on rivers and streams with an enhanced flood potential through Tuesday morning," according to the watch as of 7 a.m. Monday. "The highest risk of flooding is along creeks, streams, and poor drainage areas, including the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe.
"The upper reaches of the Truckee and Carson rivers are forecast to rise to near monitor stage tonight into Tuesday, but at this time are expected to remain below flood stage."
Small creeks and streams are the most susceptible to flooding, according to NWS. Further, excessive rainfall may also generate rock and mud slides in steep terrain.
Considering the potential for snow top and a rain/snow mix at lower elevations, NWS has also issued an avalanche watch, effective Monday morning through Tuesday morning, by way of the Sierra Avalanche Center.
The watch covers the Lake Tahoe Basin and applies to backcountry areas outside of established ski resort boundaries.
Visit http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org to learn more about regional slides and to stay up to date on conditions.
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