Predicted Tahoe winter storm not as large as previously forecast | SierraSun.com

Predicted Tahoe winter storm not as large as previously forecast

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Amy Edgett/Sierra SunCool temperatures allowed Squaw Valley USA to blow snow as late as 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
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LAKE TAHOE and#8212; The first big storm of the season is shaping up to be a fickle one.

What was expected to take a long, productive pass across the Sierra later this week now appears to be a faster-moving storm hitting Friday and snowing through Friday night. The National Weather Service is expecting about six inches of snow from this storm at lake level, with around a foot in the higher mountains.

and#8220;It has been a pretty uncertain storm, so things could change,and#8221; said Chris Jordan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno. and#8220;Unfortunately it looks like itand#8217;s going to be pretty fast moving right now.and#8221;

Original forecasts had the storm hitting Thursday night, and dumping one to two feet of snow at lake level, with several feet expected in higher-elevation areas.

Jordan said the storm should come in with high winds and dropping temperatures from the Pacific on Friday afternoon, dropping down from the Gulf of Alaska.

and#8220;We may get into the low 40s in Truckee, but it will cool off fast,and#8221; Jordan said.

The overnight low Friday will drop into the low 20s, he said.

Winds coming from the southwest will blow between 25 and 30 mph, with 100 mph gusts over the high ridges, making for potentially tricky conditions on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and on other high pass roads, Jordan said.

With the expected cold temperatures, as much as 18 inches of snow could fall on some of the areaand#8217;s tallest peaks, Jordan said.

Another fast-moving storm expected Saturday evening could drop another few inches of snow, Jordan said, keeping the area cold through the weekend.

Looking deeper into winterand#8217;s crystal ball, El Nino is expected to sit at a and#8220;moderateand#8221; level for much of the winter, meaning higher than normal precipitation, but also higher than normal temperatures, Jordan said.

That means potentially more snow, but with snow lines at potentially higher elevations, he said.

and#8220;The majority of El Ninoand#8217;s effects are after December and#8212; more like January or February,and#8221; Jordan said.

and#8226; Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust system are in top condition.

and#8226; Check your antifreeze and be ready for colder temperatures.

and#8226; Check your tires. Make sure they are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition.

and#8226; Always carry chains.

and#8226; Other suggested items to carry in your car are an ice scraper or commercial deicer, a broom for brushing snow off your car, a shovel to free your car if it’s and#8220;snowed in,’ sand or burlap for traction if your wheels should become mired in snow; and an old towel to clean your hands.

and#8226; It is also a good idea to take along water, food, warm blankets and extra clothing. A lengthy delay will make you glad you have them.

and#8226; Put an extra car key in your pocket. A number of motorists have locked themselves out of their cars when putting on chains and at ski areas.

and#8226; Allow enough time. Trips to the mountains can take longer during winter than other times of year, especially if you encounter storm conditions or icy roads.

and#8226; Keep your gas tank full.

and#8226; Keep windshield and windows clear.

and#8226; Slow down. A highway speed of 55 miles an hour may be safe in dry weather and#8212; but an invitation for trouble on snow and ice. Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so keep your seat belt buckled and leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Bridge decks and shady spots can be icy when other areas are not.

and#8226; Be more observant. Visibility is often limited in winter by weather conditions. Slow down and watch for other vehicles and for snow equipment.

and#8226; When stalled, stay with your vehicle and try to conserve fuel while maintaining warmth. Be alert to any possible exhaust or monoxide problems.

and#8212; From the California Highway Patrol