Travel around Tahoe could be ‘difficult to impossible’ with more snow on the way

Heavy storms walloped the Lake Tahoe area over the weekend, bringing a thick layer of snow and dangerous driving conditions.

The snowfall — the second major dousing this season — arrived late Saturday on the heels of a low-pressure system moving northeast from the Bay Area to Tahoe, meteorologists said. Another storm moved in Sunday from the coastal California-Oregon border.

Adding to drivers’ woes, the storm brought heavy winds, with speeds reaching 40 mph near Lake Tahoe and gusts between 80 and 100 mph on the Sierra ridge, the National Weather Service reported Sunday.

The storm systems herald major Sierra snow — good news for skiers, but bad news for drivers hoping to traverse mountain roads.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the area through 4 a.m. Monday.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” weather service meteorologists warned. “Very strong winds could cause tree damage.”

White-out conditions were expected to continue on Monday, with the NWS predicting another 5 inches of snow at lower elevations and an additional 7 inches at higher elevations. Gusts of wind on mountainous ridges were expected to fall to 60 mph.

The colder air brought snow to lower elevations Sunday morning. Parts of Tahoe’s west slope accumulated up to 3 feet of snow by the end of the day at the highest points along Interstate 80, while parts of South Lake Tahoe saw up to 1½ feet of snow.

A live webcam on Interstate 80 at Kingvale on Sunday morning showed cars and trucks creeping slowly to avoid slippage amid the thick layer of snow. Temperatures in the area remained below freezing.

Weather service meteorologists cautioned drivers to “avoid travel if possible” and to bring emergency supplies.

The weekend’s heavy storm system arrived just days after December’s first Sierra snow, with about a foot and a half piling up at ski and snowboard resorts, including Kirkwood, Heavenly and Palisades at Tahoe. As much as 4 feet accumulated at the highest peaks.

On Thursday, the snow created whiteout driving conditions and caused spin-outs, chain controls and a multiple-hour closure on Interstate 80.

Skiers rejoiced in the bounty, despite the difficult driving conditions.

“The mountains looked stunning dressed in a fresh coat of snow, but mother nature was not afraid to give us a few challenges,” Palisades Tahoe wrote on its blog.

Nora Mishanec is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

Source link

Up to 80% OFF Black Friday Early Access @

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: