National Weather Service: Winter storm expected to hit Lake Tahoe Friday |

National Weather Service: Winter storm expected to hit Lake Tahoe Friday

Ryan Hoffman

If you were preparing to kiss the snow and cold temperatures goodbye … not so fast. Anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow could fall around Lake Tahoe heading into the weekend, and it could be much more depending on snow levels, the National Weather Service in Reno warned Wednesday.

A winter storm watch and a flood watch are set to take effect late Thursday and last through Saturday morning. A late season atmospheric river — a phenomenon that people in Tahoe are all too familiar with after this most recent winter — will bring significant precipitation to the Sierra Nevada, according to NWS Reno. However, the storm is not expected to be as strong as the events in January and February, which helped supply near-record snow totals.

This storm brings greater uncertainty as it pertains to snow levels. Current projections have snow levels starting between 6,500 and 7,500 feet on Friday before falling to the 4,500-5,500 feet range by Saturday morning.

NWS predicts 2 to 4 feet of heavy wet snow above 7,500 feet. The total for lake level is a little more difficult to predict, as much more snow could fall if snow levels drop sooner than expected. Presently, NWS is predicting between 4 and 8 inches at lake level.

With much of the region having already experienced flooding earlier this year, the precipitation later in the week could cause more flooding, particularity around small creeks and streams and areas with poor drainage.

“Near saturated soils and a mostly ripe low to mid elevation snowpack will contribute to increased runoff,” NWS warns. “This will increase flood potential, especially along creeks and streams, Friday into Saturday. This event isn’t expected to be as strong as storms in January and February but is a significant precipitation event for April.”

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