Winter storm closes schools, roads, ski resorts at Truckee-Tahoe; More snow on way

A view of the Funitel at Palisdades Tahoe.
Provided/Palisades Tahoe

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Heavy snowfall has closed roads and schools and impacted ski resort operations at Truckee-Tahoe and the multi-day storm still has much more in store for the region.

About 3 feet of snow fell in the last 24 hours at Tahoe resorts, including 38 inches at Palisades Tahoe and 30 inches at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, and the National Weather Service’s blizzard warning remains in effect through 4 a.m, Wednesday with another 2 to 3 feet expected in Tahoe communities and double those amounts above 7,000 feet.

Winds will also be strong with gusts up to 55 mph and up to 100 mph on Sierra ridges. The winds will create rough conditions on the lake including waves up to 5 feet which could sink small vessels.

Palisades Tahoe will not open on Tuesday and Kirkwood said it is going to try and open a couple of lifts. The Heavenly Gondola and other lifts and facilities at the top are closed, the resort announced and encouraged guests to plan for low visibility, extreme cold and impacted transportation. Northstar California closed its limited terrain early on Monday and have not yet announced operations for Tuesday.

“Both side(s) of Palisades Tahoe are CLOSED today due to avalanche hazard and limited access on the mountain,” said the resort in Tweet.

A view of Palisades Tahoe from a resort groomer on Tuesday morning.
Provided/Hunter Lamer/Palidsades Tahoe

“Mountain operations teams still coming up with a plan for today. We shall do our best to get chairs 5 and 6 open, but it will be very challenging. Stay tuned for updates,” said Kirkwood.

Although getting to Kirkwood will be challenging with State Route 88 closed 2 miles east of Kirkwood to 5 miles west of Picketts Junction and from 3.5 miles east of Silver Lake to Kirkwood. The route is also closed from 1 mile west of Woodfords to the California/Nevada boundary.

State Route 89 is closed over Luther Pass, from Picketts Junction to 2.7 miles south of the junction of US-50 and is also closed to through traffic at Emerald Bay.

Interstate 80 closed at about 11 a.m. Monday and remains closed due to zero visibility and whiteout conditions.

U.S. Highway 50 was closed for several hours on Monday due to avalanche mitigation over Echo Summit where several cars had also spun out and needed assistance, but has since reopened with chain controls, according to Caltrans.

All schools are closed at Lake Tahoe with Incline Village students learning remotely.

“We have never looked more forward to Spring,” said Douglas County School District on Facebook. “Based on current weather and road conditions, plus a forecast that calls for at least a 70% chance of snow and 12-15 mph winds during school hours tomorrow, all DCSD schools will be closed for Tuesday.”

The Sierra Avalanche Center in Truckee has a backcountry avalanche warning in effect through 7 a.m. Wednesday with high danger anticipated and backcountry travel is not recommended.

“A winter storm with gale-force winds, high-intensity snowfall, and feet of new snow accumulation will cause widespread avalanche activity in the mountains,” the warning said. “Large avalanches could occur in a variety of areas.”

All El Dorado County offices will be closed on Tuesday except those in El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park and Shingle Springs.

All Town of Truckee facilities closed at 11 a.m. Monday but the town has not posted a closure for Tuesday.

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