Winter welcome; Snow blankets region; cold stretch in area predicted
A winter storm which passed through Truckee last weekend dropped over 3 feet of snow on the Tahoe Donner subdivision, while Glenshire residents received about 2 feet of snow and snowfall in the rest of Truckee measured as much as 30 inches.
Skies are expected to be clear as temperatures gradually rise through the week, but the arctic storm that blew into the area Sunday brought frigid weather which should last through this weekend.
“The powder is nice, but it will be bitterly cold,” Tom Cylke, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Monday.
As much as 5 feet of snow fell over the higher peaks over the weekend, with an overnight total Sunday of 2 to 3 feet reported at many locations, Cylke said. Kirkwood Ski Resort reported 30 to 42 inches overnight, while 20 inches fell at Echo Summit and 24 inches at Donner Summit in a 12-hour period.
The Truckee-Tahoe Airport reported about 16 inches of snow at 5,900 feet.
A high-pressure system should keep the Truckee-Tahoe area dry for the rest of the week, with the possibility of a weak weather system moving in by Sunday.
Nighttime temperatures will drop into the single digits for the next few nights, with daytime highs reaching the middle 30s. The high Monday was 26 degrees at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, with an overnight low of 8 degrees, while Tuesday had a high of 31 degrees with an overnight low of -8 degrees.
Truckee Public Works Director Tom Covey said that the city’s snow removal teams were mostly able to keep up with the storm.
“It went fine, there were a lot of positive comments and we were way ahead of it,” Covey said. “The guys did a really good job, and we had maybe two or three complaint calls from Tahoe Donner. We were a little behind at Sierra Meadows in the beginning but there were only a few calls. We had it all plowed out and rolling by the end of the storm.”
There were no road closures in Truckee during the storm.
Covey cautioned motorists to be prepared for the weather, drive slowly and heed warning signs.
“Everyone forgets what it’s like to drive in snow,” he said.
Covey said that because Northwoods Drive is highly traveled the public works department spent a lot of time on it, and the road was never closed.
“It was in good condition throughout the storm, but there were people trying to take shortcuts on Alder Creek or Bull Pine,” Covey said. ” We don’t sand those roads because they are not major thoroughfares and we don’t have time or money to figure out where people take shortcuts. They should stick to the main roads.”
Covey said for information on snow removal on residential streets, people should call the Snow Removal Hotline at 587-6917, and may leave a message if the hotline is busy.
“For a non-life threatening emergency where you can’t get through, you can call the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department at
582-7842,” Covey said. “Don’t dial 9-1-1 just because we haven’t plowed your street. Some people have been doing that.”
He said residents should also remember they could be fined $100 for unloading snow from their property into the road. Snow thrown into the road is dangerous because it creates a hardened snow pack.
The Town of Truckee’s Public Works Department handles snow removal on the residential streets within the boundaries of the town, while Caltrans does Interstate 80, Highway 89 and Highway 267.
Pat Miller of Caltrans reported that I-80 remained open the whole weekend, although the CHP did hold trucks westbound for a while. During the height of the storm, chains were mandatory over Donner Summit, except for four-wheel drives with snow tires.
“The crews were up to their usual magnificent response,” she said. Miller said she had heard of no major problems with accidents, except for the usual fender benders and spinouts.
“There’s a science to putting down sand and salt,” Miller said. “You have to do it at the right time so the snow doesn’t adhere to the pavement. If you do it too soon, the car will throw it off to the side of the road.”
Miller encouraged motorists to always carry chains, as they could be fined for not having them, even in a four-wheel drive vehicle.
“If you get up the road and conditions change, you would need your chains,” Miller said.
CHP officer Jay Carpenter reported that the accidents over the weekend were mainly due to speed and bad tires.
“It would improve if we could just get people to slow down,” Carpenter said. “They drive like they’re in the Valley. If the outside tread on their tires is worn smooth, it won’t grab. People tailgate too much, and should maintain a 100-foot minimum distance no matter what the speed is on the road.”
Carpenter reported one major accident over the weekend, in which a driver near Lake Tahoe lost control and swerved into the oncoming lanes of traffic. Her car was struck on the right side and the victim was Careflighted with major injuries. He said 40 accidents occurred over the entire weekend in the Truckee CHP area, which extends from the state line to Kingvale on Interstate 80 and from Kings Beach to Homewood and north to the Plumas County line.
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The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science on Wednesday announced the release of its latest Tahoe Nature Activity Book.