Lake Tahoe weather: 12 to 20 inches of snow possible by Thursday morning | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe weather: 12 to 20 inches of snow possible by Thursday morning

Staff report

TRUCKEE, Calif. — After a fairly warm and dry first half of February, snow is expected to return to the Tahoe-Truckee region this week.

A winter storm watch will be in effect from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

Twelve to 20 inches of snow is likely above 7,000 feet, with 4 to 10 inches possible between 6,000 and 7,000 feet.

"A mix of rain and snow will begin Wednesday afternoon, becoming all snow Wednesday night," according to the storm watch. "The heaviest snow is expected between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., where snowfall rates could briefly reach 2 to 3 inches per hour."

Rain should switch to show between 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday over Donner Summit, and between 10 p.m. Wednesday to 2 a.m. Thursday a lake level at Tahoe.

Wind gusts of anywhere from 40 to 55 mph are possible with the storm, according to NWS.

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As is the case with most Sierra storms, conditions will make driving a challenge. Snow tire or chain restrictions may be in effect along most highways and passes, including Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50, California highways 28, 89 and 267, and Nevada highways 28, 207 and 431.

This week's storm comes after the region saw temperatures soar into the mid- to upper-50s over Presidents' Day weekend.

Since the start of February, much of the snow Tahoe-Truckee saw since December and early January has melted at ground level, meaning — should the forecast pan out — this week's storm will be a welcome boost for ski resorts and the region's snowpack.

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