Record levels of snow lead to gas shortage


Over 200 inches of snow fell in the Truckee-Tahoe area, breaking a 1970 record.
Elizabeth White

This month brought record-breaking snow levels, not seen since 179 inches fell in 1970.

As of Thursday morning, there had been a total of 212 inches of snow for the month of December, according to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.

This historic event has caused a number of issues over the past week, the most recent being a major gas shortage in the Truckee-Tahoe region.

As Interstate 80 and many other roads to the region closed due to intense snow conditions, tanker trucks have been unable to make it up the mountain. That meant gas stations in the community have been unable to refill on petrol and diesel, causing a mass shortage of fuel.

As of Wednesday morning, the vast majority of the Truckee-Tahoe region went without petrol, and very little diesel.

Interstate 80 reopened Tuesday, but it will take time to fully resupply every station in the region as traffic and weather conditions continue to be an issue.

“This hasn’t happened in a long time. The North Shore stations are out of gas,” said Shirley Mueller. “My boss had me call around to get fuel for our snow removal equipment. We will have to bring gas up from Reno.”

Mueller’s office is located in Tahoe City, where there are a limited number of gas stations with no petrol available.

Many of the construction workers for Mueller’s employer, Loverde Builders, have had to bring fuel with them from Carson City and Reno in order to keep construction equipment going on their job sites.


In addition to the fuel shortage, the Truckee- Tahoe region has been riddled with backed up traffic, road closures, avalanches, and power outages throughout town, which caused many businesses and ski resorts to close.

As of Wednesday morning, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office advised drivers to use I-80 for essential travel only, as traffic was causing a backup for emergency responders.

Avalanche danger has also posed a risk to roads and structures as an avalanche poured over onto Highway 89 on Monday, closing the road from Tahoe City to Palisades.

On Tuesday, Washoe County issued an avalanche hazard advisory for Crystal Bay and Third Creek, strongly advising backcountry travelers to refrain from any activity on or around these areas as any activity on these slopes could trigger an avalanche which could potentially cause damage to infrastructure in the nearby neighborhoods directly below the slopes.

The extreme weather was expected to clear out Thursday, and begin again Monday with a chance of snow and potential for heavier snow Monday night and into Tuesday.

Today is expected to be mostly clear with highs around 32, and lows at 10.

New Year’s Day will be sunny with highs near 36 and a low of 13.

Sunday will also be sunny with a high of 40 and a low of 22.

Monday will be partly sunny with a high of around 38 and a low of 27.

Tuesday could be mostly cloudy with highs around 37.

Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

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