TRUCKEE (CBS SF) — A winter storm front, fueled by an atmospheric river flowing off the southern Pacific, was set to roar into the Sierra Monday bringing with it the possibility of as much as 80 inches of snow at Donner Pass and triggering an avalanche watch for the Lake Tahoe area.
The National Weather Service issued a series of watchings and watches for the region stemming from Monday through early Thursday. Among them was a winter storm warning for Tahoe.
“Heavy snow is expected,” the weather service warned. “3-Day storm total snow accumulation of 2 to 4 feet (at lake level), expect 4 to 8 feet above 7000 feet. Winds gusting as high as 60 mph with gusts over 140 mph for the Sierra ridges. Periods of white-out conditions are likely.”
The snow will add to already record February totals for snow at the local ski resorts. Squaw Valley has received 21 feet of snow to set an all-time February record with another 4-6 feet likely by the end of the month on Wednesday.
Homewood has gotten 23 feet, Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts have each received 20 feet of snow this month.
Diamond Peak’s previous record of 134 inches for the month has been crushed by the 172 inches it had received this year as of last Thursday.
“We broke our February snowfall record on Feb. 15,” Jaclyn Ream, Diamond Peak’s marketing coordinator told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “Our previous record was during the ‘Snowmageddon’ 2016-17 season.”
Meanwhile, the Sierra Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche watch running from 5 p.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
“Very dangerous avalanche conditions may occur,” the center said. “Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended during HIGH avalanche danger. Large destructive avalanches could occur.”