‘Life threatening situation’: Blizzard warning issued for Truckee-Tahoe

A view of Lake Tahoe from Dollar Point.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Gas up the snowblowers, get bundled up and batten down the hatches, a major winter storm is headed to Truckee-Tahoe that officials are calling a “life threatening situation.”

Officials are advising against traveling in the Sierra and suggests staying indoors and riding out a major multi-day winter storm poised to slam into the region.

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a blizzard warning that goes into effect at 10 a.m. Monday and lasts through 4 a.m. Wednesday for heavy snow and strong winds.

“This is a life threatening situation,” the service said in the warning. “Do not attempt to travel during blizzard conditions. Road crews and first responders may not be able to rescue you. Stay indoors until the snow and wind subside. Even a short walk could be deadly if you become disoriented.”

The service has a winter storm warning in effect through 10 a.m. Monday, ahead of the blizzard warning for snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches, except 10 to 18 inches above 7,000 feet. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph. The service said the basin has a 60-70% chance to receive 6-8 inches.

Meager numbers compared to what’s coming.

Officials say there is a 70-80% chance for 2 to 4 feet of snow for lake communities and 4 to 6 feet above 7,000 feet, up a foot from Saturday’s forecast.

Winds will gust up to 55 mph with 100 mph gusts along Sierra ridgetops.

Travel is not recommended, and may be impossible with near zero visibility at times during the blizzard warning. The strong winds could also lead to tree damage and power outages.

“If you risk travel you could become stranded in vehicles for hours,” the service said.

Chain controls are in effect on most Tahoe highways on Sunday and State Route 89 remains closed at Emerald Bay.

For the latest road conditions, call 511 or visit or

High temperatures through Wednesday are not expected to go above freezing.

The service said this storm will continue to yield light to moderate snowfall on the backside of the low on Wednesday before most snow showers taper off by Wednesday evening. 

“We will have a small break in this rather active winter weather pattern Thursday through Friday before another potential storm system moves through by next weekend,” the service said. “March looks to enter roaring like a lion for the time being.”

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