Foot of snow at Lake Tahoe, more on the way into weekend
RENO, Nev. (AP) — More than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow fell on the top of Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts as a series of winter storms made their way through the Sierra Nevada on Thursday, and more is in the forecast into the weekend with accumulations on the valley floors around Reno expected by Saturday.
The National Weather Service issued a backcountry avalanche warning Thursday for most of the central Sierra, including Lake Tahoe, and additional storm warnings and advisories into Saturday for the Reno-Tahoe area.
More than 2 feet (61 cm) of snow was recorded on the ridgetops early Thursday in the southern Sierra south of the mountain lake where as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) is possible by the weekend.
The first of a series of storms moving into the Sierra dropped 14 inches (35 cm) at the Mt. Rose Ski Resort between Reno and Tahoe early Thursday, 13 inches (33 cm) at Northstar near Truckee, California, and 19 to 30 inches (43 to 76 cm) at parts of Mammoth Mountain 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of the lake along the Nevada-California line, the service said.
A half-foot (15 cm) or more of snow was reported at a number of other Tahoe-area resorts, including Squaw Valley near Tahoe City, California, and Heavenly Ski Resort at south Lake Tahoe.
A winter storm warning expires at 4 a.m. Friday for the Lake Tahoe area, but another one goes into effect from 11 p.m. Friday through 3 p.m. Saturday with more than another foot of snow in the forecast.
A winter weather advisory goes into effect Saturday from 4 a.m. to noon for Reno, Sparks, Carson City and surrounding areas where up to 2 inches (5 cm) is expected on the valley floors and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in the foothills.
New winter storm warnings also were issued for Lassen and eastern Plumas and Sierra counties in California north of Reno from 11 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday where up to 10 inches (25 cm) of new snow is possible.
A winter storm warning will be replaced with a winter advisory at 4 a.m. Friday through 3 p.m. Saturday in the central Sierra where more than 2 feet (61 cm) of snow already has fallen on the ridgetops.
The service warned the forecast for heavy snow into the weekend combined with high winds may result in widespread avalanches. Wind gusts over 70 mph (113 kph) were forecast in exposed higher terrain.
The Nevada Department of Transportation briefly closed part of the Mount Rose Highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe Thursday morning for avalanche control operations. Officials say they planned to shoot 30 sticks of dynamite into the mountainside with a remote-controlled air cannon to trigger small avalanches.
The Nevada Highway Patrol said chain restrictions were required in some areas, and forecasters urged drivers in the high country to avoid travel if possible.