Lake Tahoe weather: NWS downgrades forecast to 1-2 feet of snowfall | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe weather: NWS downgrades forecast to 1-2 feet of snowfall

Staff report

TRUCKEE, Calif. — What once started as a forecast of "several feet of snow" for the greater Tahoe-Truckee-Reno area has been downgraded as Thursday's storm approaches.

The region will be under a winter storm warning from 4 a.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

One to 2 feet of snow is forecast above 7,000 feet, "with locally up to 3 feet near the Sierra crest," according to NWS. Seven to 14 inches of snow is likely below 7,000 feet, with 12 to 18 inches possible west of Highway 89.

From Wednesday night into Thursday morning, lake level wind gusts of 65 mph are possible, along with 125 mph gust along Sierra ridge tops.

Wednesday's forecast comes after NWS issued a special weather statement on Monday, forecasting that "several feet of snow" is likely from the storm. On Tuesday, NWS issued a winter storm watch suggesting the storm could bring more than 3 feet up top.

It's been a tough storm to predict, considering the unclear nature higher-than-normal temperatures may have on the storm.

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NWS forecasts a high temperature in Truckee Thursday of 41, down from 55 degrees on Wednesday, meaning the storm could turn to rain at lower elevations for a good portion of Thursday. Thirty-five is Friday's high.

Still, when it does snow, the mixture of heavy snowfall and gusty winds will likely create whiteout conditions and icy roads, according to NWS.

"Snowfall rates will exceed plowing capabilities at times," according to the storm warning. "This includes Interstate 80, California highways 88, 89 and 267, and Nevada highways 28, 207 and 431. Significant delays and dangerous weather conditions (are) possible for backcountry activities."

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