Mar 3, 2023 - News

Lake Tahoe area braces for more snow

Snow covered road in Tahoe

2-4 feet of snow is expected in parts of Tahoe this weekend. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Historic amounts of snow have fallen in the Lake Tahoe area, and this weekend even more is on the way.

Catch up quick: Blizzard conditions earlier this week closed major highways heading into Tahoe and trapped drivers.

  • An avalanche Tuesday night engulfed a three-story apartment building with snow in North Lake Tahoe, forcing residents to evacuate. No one was injured.
  • Meanwhile, in Placer County, an 80-year old woman died after a heavy snowpack caused her porch to collapse on top of her.

Context: The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab near Truckee said Wednesday the storm brought its seasonal snow total to 531 inches.

  • That's 205% of the average snowfall to date and 42 inches shy of the 2016–17 season, the snowiest winter in the past 50 years.

Why it matters: Beyond the immediate dangers of so much snow, experts are starting to worry about what happens when the weather starts to warm.

  • Snowmelt and extreme runoff in 2017 forced nearly 200,000 people near the Lake Oroville reservoir to evacuate their homes and caused $1 billion in damage, the Chronicle reported.

Yes, but: After this week's storm, over 50% of California is considered to be out of the drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

What's next: While sun is in the forecast for today, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Tahoe area from 10am Saturday through Monday morning.

  • 2–4 feet of snow is expected in higher elevations, with gusts of up to 50 mph.

What they're saying: Patrick Lacey, a spokesperson for the Palisades Tahoe resort in Olympic Valley, told Axios he expects lifts will be open this weekend, but urged people to use caution.

  • "If you don't have the equipment, don't come up here," Lacey said. "There's going to be snow for quite some time."

The bottom line: If you are still planning to go to Tahoe this weekend, Lacey said, make sure you have food, blankets, extra water and accommodations at least through Sunday night.

  • As the NWS warned, "you may not be able to leave for a while."

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