Winter storms to make Reno-Carson-Tahoe travel ‘difficult to impossible’
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The greater Lake Tahoe-Truckee region could see anywhere from 1-4 feet of snow — while Reno and the Carson Valley could see up to 6 inches — from a series of storms expected to hit this week.
Updated totals for Truckee-Tahoe from the National Weather Service in Reno hinge on the possibility that some precipitation could fall as rain at lake level. Above 7,000 feet, snow totals could exceed 4 feet from Tuesday through Friday morning.
Accumulation of 5-10 inches of snow is possible at lake level Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. Higher totals ranging from 10-18 inches are possible west of California Route 89. The heaviest snowfall is expected Wednesday night.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible later Wednesday through Thursday, with periods of white out conditions possible, especially in the higher elevations,” according to NWS.
Elevations above 7,000 feet could see anywhere from 2-4 feet of snow Wednesday night through Thursday. Below 7,000 feet, snow totals could range from 8-18 inches. If all the precipitation remains snow, lake level could see 15-30 inches.
Winds as strong as 45 mph at the lake during the storm watch could make travel over mountain passes nearly impossible, the weather service warns.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible later Wednesday through Thursday with periods of white out conditions possible, especially in the higher elevations,” per NWS.
Across the greater Reno-Carson City-Minden area, a few snow showers are expected Tuesday with little to no accumulation.
However, once the larger system moves in Wednesday, total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with local amounts of 4 to 6 inches, are possible above 5,000 feet.
With the approaching storms in the forecast, Nevada and California transportation officials are urging people to plan for lengthy delays.
Chain requirements will likely be implemented on all major Sierra Nevada highways and passes; further, blustery conditions in the valleys, especially along the Highway 395 commute between Reno and the Carson Valley will make travel a challenge.
Clarity can swing dramatically from day to day and year to year based on a multitude of factors including heavy precipitation, which increases streamflow and leads to more sediment flowing into the lake.