After an unusually warm November, the temperatures dropped quickly and winter came through the Northern Nevada region in full force, bringing the Sierra Nevada around nine feet of snow in five days. By December 18 mostly all of Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts were open, and visitors started coming up to the Tahoe basin in droves. Even this past Monday, cars were parked on both sides of Highway 431 at the Tahoe Meadows with about a hundred people out sledding by 11am.
“Winter announced herself with a bang,” says Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe Marketing Director Mike Pierce. Located halfway between Reno and Incline Village on Highway 431, Mt. Rose touts having Tahoe’s highest base elevation at 8,260 feet. It received four feet of fresh snow in one day (76 inches total in last week’s 3-day storm) and had its advanced and expert Chutes terrain open by December 18.
The employees who work over at Sparks-based company Moment Skis also get excited when the snow starts to fall.
“We sell fun, skis for people to take up to the mountain and have a good time. We’re in this business because we all have a passion for skiing and snowboarding so when it snows, we’re all happy,” says Moment Skis Team Manager Tyler Curle.
Tahoe residents did get a weekend reprieve in the weather before another snowstorm is expected to sweep the area again this week. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) released a Winter Weather Advisory in effect from December 21-22 followed by a Winter Storm Watch in effect from December 22-26.
What does this mean for Sparks residents?
According to the Special Weather Statement issued by the National Weather Service in Reno on Monday, December 20:
A series of Pacific winter storms will bring periods of stormy weather to much of California and Nevada this week. There will be few, if any, meaningful breaks in the weather for the Sierra once the storms begin on Tuesday [December 21], so plan ahead.”
The statement encourages people to wrap up their travel plans, make sure drains and gutters are clear of debris, and re-secure holiday decorations. In areas above 6,500 feet, significant snowfall is expected to fall now through the holiday weekend which could cause major travel delays. The storm is predicted to be its most intense over the weekend. A mix of rain and snow could even fall on the valley floor below an elevation of 4,500 feet, so there is the possibility that Sparks locals will wake up to a white Christmas.
NOAA recommends that people traveling for the holidays should take into consideration alternate routes or adjust plans if necessary, and be prepared for chain controls, delays, and potential road closures. Visit weather.gov/reno for current information on the weather forecast and feel free to call 511 for Nevada road conditions or 1-800-427-7623 for California road conditions.