Lake Tahoe forecast to see more rain than snow this week

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FILE: Traffic moves through inclement weather on Highway 50 near Lake Tahoe, on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. 

Alejandra Rubio/NYT

The Tahoe basin straddling California and Nevada is forecast to record more rain than snow this week as a pair of warm and wet systems sweep the Sierra Nevada on Monday through Wednesday. 

Snow levels are expected to hover between 8,000 and 8,500 throughout the duration of the first two systems, likely dropping to about 7,000 feet for a period Tuesday night into Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

“That’s pretty high for this region,” Edan Lindaman, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Reno office, said. “We’re looking at quite a bit of water much of this week. It’s pretty warm, pretty wet.”

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A cold system is predicted to move quickly through the Sierra over the weekend, but will likely bring more snow to the eastern Sierra and Nevada than the Tahoe area, Lindaman said. 

A low-pressure system pulling in moisture from the subtropics soaked California on Monday. Rain was falling in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was also falling throughout a lot of the Tahoe Basin — especially at lower elevations

Palisades Tahoe, the largest ski complex in the basin, reported that snow levels started at 9,000 feet Monday morning. The weather service said that just before noon, levels had dropped to 7,500 to 8,500 feet. 

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“We’re getting pretty heavy rain,” Lindaman said. “It’s all rain at the lake.”

Wet weather is expected to continue into Tuesday night, and Lindaman said that snow levels could drop as low as 7,000 feet Tuesday night into Wednesday. A second system is expected to sweep the Tahoe basin Wednesday. There’s a chance for scattered snow showers on Thursday. 

From Monday to Wednesday, elevations at 8,000 feet and above could pick up 1 to 2 feet of snow, Lindaman said. 

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FILE: More rain is expected for Lake Tahoe in the days leading up to Christmas. 

FILE: More rain is expected for Lake Tahoe in the days leading up to Christmas. 

George Rose/Getty Images

Truckee is expected to record about 1.33 inch of water from both rain and snow. “In Truckee, maybe an inch of that would be snow,” Lindaman said. “Any snow is going to be a slushy, wet mess, that really heavy Sierra cement.”

A third colder storm is expected to bring more chances for snow on Friday and Saturday, with snow levels dropping to valley floors. “We’d probably see more snow showers in Nevada than on the western slopes of the Sierra and in the Tahoe basin,” Lindaman said. 

The Tahoe basin is expected to see widespread afternoon highs in the low to mid-40s for much of the week before daytime temperatures drop into the 30s on Saturday. South Lake Tahoe is forecast to record a high of 46 on Monday, 43 on Tuesday, 40 on Wednesday, 41 on Thursday, 43 on Friday and 35 on Saturday, according to the weather service.

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