Winter storm warning issued for Lake Tahoe high country | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Winter storm warning issued for Lake Tahoe high country

A light dusting of snow coats Lake Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe in January 2017.
Ryan Hoffman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Forecasters are predicting increased precipitation totals stemming from a winter storm that will move into the region later today. But with snow levels rising, lake level will likely see more rain than snow.

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a winter storm warning for elevations above 7,000 feet, where moderate to heavy snow is expected. The warning will be in effect from 3 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Thursday.

There is a 100 percent chance of precipitation at the lake tonight.

Total snow accumulations above 7,000 feet could range from 6 to 15 inches, while 8-18 inches could accumulate above 8,000 feet.

At lake level (elevation 6,225 feet), up to 4 inches of snow is possible but that is largely expected west of California Route 89,  which may fair “better” than the area east of the highway, according to the weather service.

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Increased wind and warm air are expected to push snow levels higher than previously predicted. Rain, expected to arrive mid-to-late afternoon, could transition to snow tonight night after 11 p.m.

“With snow levels rising, there has been no increase in snow accumulation for the Tahoe Basin, with only a couple of inches over tonight being possible; this should melt fairly quickly given antecedent rain and relatively warm surfaces.”

Rain along the Sierra Front has been increased to around 0.3 inches of liquid. In South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village, new snow accumulation of less than a half inch is possible through Wednesday night.

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Winds could range from 25-35 mph at the lake today, with Sierra Ridge winds ranging from 50-65 mph.

The weather service advises, if possible, to avoid travel — no easy feat on the biggest travel day of the year.

“If you must travel, prepare for long delays and carry an emergency kit with extra food, water and clothing. If you stay home, have a backup plan in case of power outages.”