Lake Tahoe weather: Major storm could bring ‘multiple feet’ of snow up high | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe weather: Major storm could bring ‘multiple feet’ of snow up high

Larry Segal enjoys new snow at Squaw Valley in early December 2014, after the resort received nearly 2 feet of snow up top. It marked the only significant storm of the 2014-15 season.
Courtesy Hank de Vre |

Scheduled Lake Tahoe ski area opening dates

Alpine Meadows: Dec. 12

Boreal Mountain Resort: Open

Diamond Peak Ski Resort: Conditions permitting

Donner Ski Ranch: Conditions permitting

Granlibakken Tahoe: Conditions permitting

Heavenly Mountain Resort: Open

Homewood Mountain Resort: Dec. 12

Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Conditions permitting

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Open

Northstar California: Open

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort: Conditions permitting

Soda Springs: Conditions permitting

Squaw Valley: Open

Sugar Bowl Resort: opened this weekend, closed this week, expects to fully open Dec. 13

Tahoe Donner: Conditions permitting

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — If the forecast pans out, it could be just what the doctor ordered heading into the Christmas holidays.

A major winter storm is expected to hit the greater Truckee-Tahoe region later this week, with several feet of snow possible by Friday morning at high-elevation areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm is developing currently in the Gulf of Alaska, according to a Monday statement from NWS, and is “on track to tap into a plume of deep moisture lifting north toward the West Coast starting late Wednesday.”

While it’s too early to predict snowfall totals, “multiple feet of snow are possible from late Wednesday night through Friday morning,” according to NWS, with the most falling above 7,000 feet.

“Questions remain regarding (how) fast snow levels will fall in this storm,” according to NWS. “The differences in the forecast … cast doubt on snow amounts in the Sierra and Northeast California below 7,000 feet. If snow levels fall fast enough, the Sierra valleys below 7,000 feet could see significant snowfall … but if the snow levels fall slower, snowfall amounts will be much less.”

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READ MORE: Travel restrictions are likely with this week’s storm, according to a special weather statement from the National Weather Service.

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The forecast, however, was not enough to allow Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village to maintain its season-opening date of Thursday, Dec. 11. Resort officials Monday announced that date is postponed due to poor coverage at the ski area.

Diamond Peak will announce a new opening date once it has been determined. In a Monday statement, Diamond Peak General Manager Brad Wilson said he “fully anticipates opening well before the holidays.”

According to this week’s forecast, snow levels are likely to start above 7,500 feet and fall through the day Thursday. It figures to be a wet storm, too, with as much as 2 to 4 inches of rain possible across Northeast California and the Northern Sierra, with less than 2 inches in the High Sierra of Mono County.

NWS expects to update the forecast throughout the week as the storm system takes a more firm shape.

The forecast comes after a wet storm dumped roughly 2 feet of snow at higher elevations a week ago, although it provided no coverage at lake level and along the streets of Truckee.

It allowed a handful of ski resorts to open and/or offer more terrain. Should this week’s storm pan out, it’s likely several others will have enough snow to operate daily, providing locals and the rush of holiday visitors coming for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays plenty of terrain.

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READ MORE: Here’s a look at what’s new for the 2014-15 winter season at all the Tahoe-Truckee downhill ski resorts.

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Further, if it pans out, the storm has the potential to be the biggest to hit the Sierra in more than three years, which would be a welcome sight for ski resorts and businesses that have struggled through three very mild winters.