Lake Tahoe weather: Truckee to declare emergency, power outages persist

Kevin MacMillan & Amanda Rhoades
Up in Truckee's Tahoe Donner, snow was piled so high Wednesday afternoon it reached the second floors of homes.
Courtesy Jimmy Griffin
Road closures and other dangers

Most Tahoe-Truckee highways, especially Interstate 80 and U.S. 50, will be subject to roving closures and delays Thursday as the storm continues.

• Check out Caltrans’ “QuickMap” for road conditions and chain requirements at

• An avalanche warning remains expired Wednesday for the region, according to NWS. Still, danger is considerable, so visit to stay up to date with warnings and slide potential.

• Schools throughout the Tahoe-Truckee region and in Incline Village are closed yet again Thursday due to the weather and safety concerns. Incline schools will also be closed Friday.

• Click here to follow the Sierra Sun's and Tahoe Daily Tribune's live social media coverage from regional officials and residents about the storm.

• What do in a power outage? Click here for helpful tips and hints from the American Red Cross on energy conservation and more.

Click here to read a Friday morning update about power outages and more dangers in the region. UPDATE: 8 p.m. Thursday: Truckee Town Council voted unanimously late Thursday afternoon to declare a state of emergency because of infrastructure damages from the storm system this past week. Click here for more updates Thursday of the storm and recovery efforts. Update 3:35 p.m.: According to Truckee-CHP, a small gas leak was located on Regency Way in Tahoe Vista and was “contained and no gas was detected in the area. The area should return to normal shortly.” There were no injuries reported during this incident — and, of note, there have been no serious injuries reported across the region this week due to the storm.
Update 3:10 p.m.:  The California Highway Patrol announced in a Facebook post that the Regency Way area of Tahoe Vista is under a mandatory evacuation order due to a gas leak.
Updated 1:30 p.m.:
As of midday Thursday, the Truckee Donner PUD reported that 693 customers remained without power around town, “with 13 main incidents plus a larger number of isolated homes with damage to their individual power feeds.” “Crews have been working day and night to repair the storm damage and reduced the number of customers without power from over 2,500 to less than 700 overnight and this morning,” according to an update on the district’s website. “We continue to work day and night, and as you can see, we’re making progress. What we have are a couple pockets that have really severe tree damage — Prosser Lakeview is probably the biggest one, we have 300 customers or so still out there,” PUD Spokesman Steven Poncelet told the Sierra Sun by phone Thursday. “Until we clear the trees and get access to what we need to — our crews are kind of waiting to get in there — we can then get things repaired.”

Update 10:45 a.m.: In an update from Liberty Utilities, a spokesperson for the company said that customers in neighborhoods with heavy damage should expect to remain without power for days. Sporadic outages continue to affect the west shore, the email said, and customers between Tahoe City and Fallen Leaf Road/Highway 89 remain without power. Restoration crews are working in multiple areas right now. The statement also says that the situation is very dynamic and can change as large trees continue to fall. Crews will move north from Fallen Leaf Road/Highway 89 today, and the company says it is aiming to have electricity restored to Tahoe Pines by midnight. A separate restoration team will move south from Tahoe City today, with the goal of getting Barker Pass Road/Highway 89 back online by midnight. Customers in the Tahoe Pines Area, from Barker Pass Road to Cherry Street should be advised that Liberty Utilities has reported that this area has very heavy damage with multiple poles down, and that may require helicopter repair.  According to the company, weather is currently preventing helicopter access today, but they may be able to access the area tomorrow. The North Tahoe Public Utility District is continuing to make its office available for use as an emergency warming shelter and cell phone charging facility. The office is located at 875 National Ave. in Tahoe Vista. Original story: TRUCKEE, Calif. — The ongoing winter storm has hit the Truckee area so bad that the town of Truckee is expected to declare a state of local emergency Thursday.

Town Council has scheduled a special meeting for 5:45 p.m. Thursday at Truckee Town Hall (10183 Truckee Airport Road) to approve the recommendation from Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

“The Town Engineering staff has begun to document numerous areas that have experienced damage, including town roads, drainage infrastructure and other facilities. There is a good chance that we won’t know the full extent of the damage until the late spring or early summer,” according to a memo from Lashbrook.

If council approves the declaration Thursday, it will allow the town to seek California and federal emergency funds “for assistance in repairs caused by this natural disaster.”

As of Wednesday night, there were no estimates in terms of cost or extent of damage in town.

Meanwhile, as of 7 a.m. Thursday, there have been no updates posted to the websites of Liberty Utilities or the Truckee Donner PUD about power outage updates on the North and West shores of Lake Tahoe, and in Truckee.

Visit and for updates. We will post updates when we hear them.

As of Wednesday, power had been reportedly restored to roughly 16,000 customers, with another 6,300 customers or so still in the dark.

Meanwhile, according to NV Energy, of the roughly 2,300 Incline Village residents without power Wednesday evening, most have been restored as of this morning. Visit to stay up to date there.

As reported Wednesday, all Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and Incline Village schools are closed today, and Incline schools also are closed Friday.

Of note, some schools on Tahoe’s South Shore will be open Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service in Reno, the winter storm warning was extended to 10 p.m. Thursday (today) for the greater Truckee-Tahoe region.

Four to 8 inches of additional snow at lake level, and up to a foot above 7,000 feet, is expected by overnight Thursday.

This “crippling snow storm,” according to NWS, that started Monday will still create hazardous road conditions Thursday cross the region. Emergency officials still urge residents to stay inside if possible.

Sierra Sun reporter Amanda Rhoades contributed to this report.

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