TRUCKEE (CBS SF) — There will be no relief from cabin fever this week for residents in the Lake Tahoe area as a low pressure system spinning off the West Coast was ready to batter the Sierra with as much as 2-3 feet of new snow.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the area beginning Tuesday night through Wednesday night. Blowing snow could make travel difficult in the mountain passes on Highway 50 and I-80 with chains most likely being required.
“Heavy snow is possible,” forecasters warned. “Total snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches below 7000 feet expect up to 3 inches below 6000 feet. 1-to-2 feet above 7000 feet with localized amounts up to 3 feet along the crest possible.”
Winds will also be a factor, threatening white-out conditions.
“Winds could gust as high as 90 mph across Sierra ridges and up to 45 mph in valley locations,” the weather service predicted.
As for timing, forecasters said, Wednesday will be the day the storm will have its greatest impact.
“The main wave will arrive Tuesday night and really ramp up during the day Wednesday,” the weather service said. “Colder and more unstable air will result in a period of moderate to heavy mountain snow with the peak intensity occurring during the day Wednesday.”
The storm is just the latest to roll through the region in a record-setting snow season. Tuesday-Wednesday’s flurry could send the season snow total at Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain to over 53 feet.
Alpine Meadows could top 44 feet and Heavenly Valley 37 feet.
Many ski resorts have announced they will be extending their ski season this year beyond the month of April.