TRUCKEE (CBS SF) — Snowmaking machines have been roaring to life on blustery, cold nights at the Sierra ski resorts, but Mother Nature was about to pitch in as much as 10 inches of snow at the highest elevations as the Tahoe region was preparing for its first blast of wintry weather late Saturday.
The National Weather Service said record highs of 86 degrees in Las Vegas and 71 at South Lake Tahoe on Thursday would forecast to drop nearly 30 degrees on Saturday.
The National Weather Service issued a winter-weather watch effective Saturday night into Sunday for much of the Sierra’s eastern front and parts of western Nevada.
Up to a half-foot of snow is expected at Lake Tahoe — up to 10 inches on mountaintops. Up to 4 inches is forecast in Reno, with local amounts possible up to 7 inches.
“Plan on slippery road conditions and poor visibility with periods of moderate to heavy snow late tonight into Sunday morning,” the weather service said.
The wintry blast will also be a welcome relief for the 882 firefighters still battling the Creek Fire which ravaged Shaver Lake communities last month.
The blaze, which has left 27 firefighters injured, was still just 70 percent contained as it continued to burn in the rugged areas of the Sierra National Forest.
It has burned 379,716 acres and destroyed 856 homes, vacation retreats, businesses and other structures.
“The bulk of the precipitation over the #CreekFire is expected during this weather event is expected to come Sunday,” the U.S. Forest Service said. “The snow level will drop to 4,000 feet on Sunday and another 2-4″ of snow is expected for a total accumulation of 4-8″, with perhaps 6-8″ at higher elevations.”