Lake Tahoe weather: 2 feet of high-elevation snow possible by Thursday

Kevin MacMillan
Snowboarders ride a lift at Northstar California on Sunday. The resort reported a foot of snow up top from a small winter storm over the weekend.
Courtesy Northstar California |

8:30 A.M. TUESDAY UPDATE: The National Weather Service has upgraded this week’s weather event to a winter storm warning.

According to NWS, 1 to 2 feet of snow is likely, with the highest amounts above 7,500 and west of Highway 89. The warning is in effect from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Thursday.

You can read the storm warning here. The below information is from Monday morning’s update.


LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Mother Nature may not have provided much in terms of Thanksgiving skiing in the Sierra, but it appears she’s trying to get December started on the right foot.

A winter storm watch will be in effect above 7,000 feet for the greater Truckee-Tahoe region Tuesday morning through late Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

Snow will begin Tuesday morning and become heavy through late Wednesday night before tapering through the day Thursday, according to NWS.

Up to 2 feet of snow is possible at higher elevations, with the highest amounts expected west of Highway 89.

Snow levels will start around 8,000 feet Tuesday morning before dropping to lake level in the afternoon and evening, according to NWS.

As is the case with most Sierra storms, conditions will make driving a challenge. Snow tire or chain restrictions will 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.

The forecast comes after a small system moved through the Sierra over Thanksgiving weekend, bringing more than a foot of snow to some areas.

Alpine Meadows, located off Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, on Monday recorded 20 inches of snow at upper mountain (8,000 feet) since Friday evening, and 8 inches at 6,800 feet.

Neighboring Squaw Valley recorded 13 inches at 8,000 feet, while Northstar California and Boreal Mountain resorts both reported a foot or more.

On the South Shore, Heavenly Mountain Resort on Monday reported 5 inches of snow from the wet storm that arrived late Friday and brought mostly rain at lake level, with some coverage within neighborhoods in the South Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas.

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