After weeks of dry weather, those hoping to hit the slopes at Lake Tahoe ski resorts this weekend will be greeted with several feet of fresh snow. Meanwhile, the highest peaks in the Bay Area, including Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton, were dusted in Monday’s atmospheric storm.
More snow is forecast for this week. Another storm from Wednesday to Thursday is expected to dump up to 36 inches of snow on Lassen Park, up to 18 inches on the Donner Pass and between 12 and 18 inches on Interstate 5, according to the National Weather Service.
Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County received about two inches of snow as Monday’s storm dropped three to four inches over the higher elevations of Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County, closing the road to the Lick observatory Tuesday morning.
A weak storm expected to sweep through the Bay Area on Wednesday evening could also leave a blanket of snow on the mountain peaks.
“There is a small chance at the end of the system,” said Sean Miller, forecaster with the National Weather Service. “It’s not impossible, you just have to line up correctly. The bigger question is whether the cold air will connect as the precipitation recedes. If there is an overlap, we may end up having some.
Palisades Tahoe received 60 inches of snow between Dec. 12 and 14, while Kirkwood saw 52 inches of snow during the same period, according to the National Weather Service. The storm fell 58 inches on Sugar Bowl and 52 inches on Boréal.
Here are some preliminary snow totals for this storm. Snow showers will continue to linger today and mountain travel is still discouraged. Another system will be installed in the region early tomorrow, with more snow expected! #CAwx pic.twitter.com/ullCIVgHXo
– NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) December 14, 2021
“Most of the snow is beneficial,” said Emily Heller, NWS meteorologist. “We didn’t have a lot of snow until the massive October storm. There aren’t a lot of downsides. For California, in general, having the snowpack that feeds the reservoirs can help manage the water storage situation that is unique to California.
Northstar California Resort and Heavenly Mountain Resort delayed their openings until 10 a.m. Tuesday due to snow flooding. Palisades Tahoe was closed on Tuesday after reporting the power had been cut. Kirkwood was also temporarily closed on Tuesday to work on avalanche mitigation and snow safety before reopening later today.
“They set up the 5 chair and are delighted to welcome guests to experience the incredible new powder on the mountain,” said Sara Roston, spokesperson for Vail Resorts.
Strong winds also knocked down trees and power lines and temporarily closed major highways during the storm.
The California Highway Patrol said Tuesday morning that State Route 88, State Route 89, US-50, Interstate 80 and US-395 in the Sierra Mountains had “restrictions”
“This snowstorm is really wreaking havoc on our major roads,” CHP South Lake Tahoe tweeted. “Have patience, drive slowly, and keep a good cushion of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.”
Forecasters have said that despite high winds and dangerous roads, the snow will help alleviate drought and reservoir levels in California.
“Northern California has extremely variable winters. We can be very dry or very wet. It’s not uncommon to have a big storm and have a long dry spell, ”Heller said. “It’s nice to see this precipitation already in December. In recent years he has come later. It normally takes about five to seven major storms in northern California to reach near average for what we want to see in the winter. “