Lake Tahoe weather: ‘Multiple day outages’ in some areas possible (update)

Amanda Rhoades and Kevin MacMillan

The Tahoe City PUD board room at 221 Fairway Drive has been operating off and on all week as a warming center for residents without power.

The room will shut down at 5 p.m. Friday, and then be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for as long as power is down, according to the PUD.

As of almost 3 pm. Friday, crews with the Truckee Donner PUD continue to respond to power outages; however, the snow Thursday caused more trees to fall and new damage. “Crews have been working day and night to repair the storm damage, and … as of this morning, TDPUD had (about) 1,700 customers out of power,” according to the PUD website. “We hope to bring many back up today and plan to again work through the night to restore power to more customers.” Included in the 1,700 are “a larger number of isolated homes with damage to their individual power feeds,” according to the PUD. As of 1 p.m. Friday, Liberty Utilities officials had been flying over the West Shore since this morning assessing damage in previously inaccessible areas.

“With the use of helicopters, we will attempt to make repairs to these remote areas over the next several days as weather allows, but some customers in the River Road and Tahoe Pines areas should prepare for multiple day outages,” spokeswoman Kathy Carter said in an email. “We will attempt to call customers in those areas to inform them of our progress as crews gain access to where the most severe damage to our structures occurred.”

Crews want to remind residents and visitors that trees and branches continue to fall onto wires and snap poles. Call 911 if you believe downed lines pose an immediate risk or if you have an emergency situation including medical equipment that requires power.

If you have a non-life threatening situation but need help, call the North Tahoe Fire Protection District at 530-584-2301.

Meanwhile, NTFPD is joining forces with Placer County Office of Emergency Services, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue and others in a “West Shore Safety Assessment Operation.”

“Deputies, firefighters, paramedics and trained volunteers will be going door to door to assess the health and welfare of residents in neighborhoods, especially elderly, mobility impaired and other at risk populations, between Timberland and Tahoma and to assess damage in the area,” according to a Friday statement from Placer County. “Much of the area has been without power since Sunday, Jan. 8, and has received 12 feet of snow. The purpose of the exercise is to assess the welfare of those who have been without power and may have potential challenges with access to services. Efforts are focused along Lake Tahoe’s west shore. The operations is expected to be complete by sunset.”

Officials are asking friends and family to contact the Emergency Operations Center that has been established at 530-584-2301. If there is an emergency, officials urge calling 911.

Further, area residents are being asked to check in with neighbors, especially those who are likely to be in need, to ensure they have adequate food, water and shelter.

NTFPD Chief Mike Schwartz has reportedly stressed “this is currently not an emergency operation” but to identify shut-ins and check in on residents who may be in need of services.

The original story is below.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The United States Postal Service has restored service to Lake Tahoe after conditions from extensive snowfall in the region forced it to suspend services.

A email announcement from USPS representatives Friday morning states that “A combination of access issues and lack of power forced USPS to temporary suspend service at nine area offices. Currently, Homewood, Tahoma and Crystal Bay have mailbox service only, but there are no retail offerings until power is restored.” About 4,000 customers are currently without power on Lake Tahoe’s north and west shores, according to a statement from Liberty Utilities Friday morning. The outages are mostly between Emerald Bay and Tahoe City, where a power line came down a few days ago and has been inaccessible due to ongoing avalanche danger. The company plans to use a helicopter to assess some of the damage today, and has reported that they are hopeful power can be restored to those customers within 24 to 48 hours. Falling trees and branches continue to be an issue in the area, and the company is reminding customers to never attempt to remove lines on the ground. Call 911 if you believe downed lines pose an immediate risk or if you have an emergency situation that requires power. Truckee Donner Public Utility District customers in the Presser Lakeview area, meanwhile, lost power again Thursday evening around 5:30 p.m. According to the TDPUD website, which was last updated at 5:50 p.m. yesterday, “Within the 600 customers currently out of power, there are approximately 10 main incidents plus a larger number of isolated homes with damage to their individual power feeds.” As of 10:30 a.m. today, customers in that region reported that they are still without electricity. Look for updates to this story as we’re able to provide them Friday.

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