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Placer County advising weekend North Lake Tahoe visitors to come prepared and be patient

January 19, 2017

As Northern California prepares for the second and third storms of a week-long string of weather systems, Placer County is reminding residents and visitors to the North Lake Tahoe area to be prepared.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Northern California through Monday for heavy storms expected to hit the state starting Friday. After a break later Saturday, another storm system is expected to follow on Sunday into Monday.

For the lake level in the Tahoe Basin, upwards of 40 inches of snow are forecast through Monday. Winds are also a concern in the high country with 55 mph gusts forecast for the basin this weekend and Sierra ridge winds of up to 100 mph expected. In the lower elevations, rain is forecast everyday into next Tuesday with a wind advisory issued Friday from 1 a.m. until 1 p.m.  

Placer County emergency officials stress that those heading into the Sierra need to be prepared for the weather. Travelers should have snow tires, four-wheel drive vehicles and carry chains rather than cables. Travelers could be stuck in their vehicles for long periods during the storms. As delays are anticipated, it is recommended that travelers start their journey with a full tank of fuel and carry an emergency kit in their vehicles with extra food, water and clothing.  

A major storm that descended on Northern California last week caused many trees to fall and power outages occurred throughout the county. In the Tahoe area, some homes were without power for more than a week. With the additional snow forecast, already snow-laden trees will receive more snow. The heavy snow, saturated ground and wind has the potential for downing more trees, which can then take out power lines. To ensure power is on in the community where visitors are planning to stay, please check Liberty Utilities website (www.libertyutilities.com ) before you travel.

Placer County officials are saying that guests should come with plenty of patience due to the severe weather. As snow falls, county public works crews will continuously plow the 150 miles of streets that fall within their area of responsibility. Caltrans is responsible for plowing the highways.

Anyone planning to stay in vacation rentals in the residential neighborhoods should check with their host or rental company in advance to ensure the home has power and is accessible. It’s also advisable to  check resort websites prior to driving there to learn whether they are open and fully operational, in order to minimize unnecessary travel.

With more power outages possible in the Sierra this weekend, visitors should come prepared to shelter in place with enough food, water and emergency supplies like flashlights and battery-operated radios.

Should power be knocked out again for an extended period, residents can expect to find warming centers open during the day at:

  • Tahoe City Public Utility District, 221 Fairway Drive in Tahoe City, and

  • North Tahoe Public Utility District, 875 National Avenue in Tahoe Vista

These centers will offer people a place to stay warm, charge communications devices and get the latest information on changing weather conditions and storm-related news or advisories.

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