Lake Tahoe snow live updates: South impacted by severe flooding, structure collapses

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Saturday, March 11, 2023
Sierra bracing for snow, rain and flooding
South Lake Tahoe is bracing for snow, rain and flooding.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Sierra is gearing up for another wild few days of winter weather as a storm moves through the region, this time a combination of snow, wind and rain.

LIVE: ABC7 News coverage on California winter storm

Take a look at the graph below to check out the latest Lake Tahoe snowpack totals. The snow total refers to the entire amount of snow that's currently at each site. The median is based on the last 30 years of data for March 9 (except for Carson Pass, which only has 16 years of historical data).

Get live updates below:

Resort Closures

The following Tahoe resorts are currently closed due to severe weather:

Saturday, March 10

8 a.m.
South Lake Tahoe battling severe flooding, structure collapses amid impacts of atmospheric river

The Sierra is gearing up for another wild few days of winter weather, this time a combination of snow, wind and rain.

The city of South Lake Tahoe is battling severe flooding and structure collapses as the atmospheric river continues pummeling Tahoe Basin.

"What the F is going on, did you just see that? It went flump," said tourist Vicki Herbert. "I'm a little worried the roof is going to go, showmp!"

Near historic snowpack, compounded with heavy rainfall has left businesses taped up, closed down and unsafe to occupy across South Lake Tahoe.

Dramatic images show snowpack towering over the roofs of homes and businesses - as the city has tracked 500 inches of snowfall so far this season.

"That's the concern with the incoming rain coming atop that snow, we're doubling and tripling a lot of that weight," said Jim Drennan, South Lake Tahoe's fire chief.

Drennan warns that the wintry mix is a double threat.

"Is this double threat, the worst you've seen it?" ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"Yeah. We've worked through a lot of heavy winters. 2011, 2016/2017 heavy winters, but I haven't seen it this bad," Drennan said.

The heavy snow load crumbled an awning at Swiss Mart gas station along Emerald Bay Road. It's one of at least seven structures that have collapsed across the city during the storm.

"When it failed, it crashed into the gas pumps, and we had a gasoline-fed fire," said Drennan. "No injuries of any kind but that property has been red-tagged."

From tumbled structures to parking lot swamps - businesses and emergency responders have remained on high alert.

"We have lost 3/4 of our parking lot due to snow plows, keep having to stack them higher and higher," said a manager at Grocery Outlet, where a parking lot flooded.

It is a reality for the region as these snow mounts start melting, flooding out residential streets and the city's airport runway.

"I left 75 degrees in Austin, Texas," said Herbert. "I'm kind of in culture shock."

The city is cautioning against unnecessary travel for the next several weeks as the Basin struggles through the snowmelt.

"We can see landslides, mudslides," said Sheree Juarez, South Lake Tahoe's public information officer. "It's being watched carefully, so you can expect delays for a long period of time."

The city says avalanche control is in effect which could impact travel on Highway 50 and Highway 80.

Friday, March 9

8 a.m.
Palisades Tahoe and Sugar Bowl announce resort closures

Due to high avalanche danger and flooding on Olympic Valley Rd. and Alpine Meadows Rd, Palisades Tahoe will not have any lift operations on Friday and base lodges are closed," the resort tweeted.

Sugar Bowl will also be closed Friday, March 10, due to extreme winds and storm conditions, the resort said.

Thursday, March 9

8 p.m.
South Lake Tahoe gas station awning collapses igniting pump

The awning of a gas station in South Lake Tahoe collapsed as bands of rain and snow moved through the area. Crews say the roof at the Swiss Mart gas station took out a gas pump causing a fire but thankfully crews were able to contain the flames and no one was injured.

6 p.m.
City of South Lake Tahoe activates virtual emergency operations center

The City of South Lake Tahoe activated a virtual emergency operations center on Thursday following a declaration of a local emergency due to the weather.

The city says the EOC "facilitates the seamless intergovernmental agency coordination that is necessary to ensure the public's safety when responding to an emergency."


To stay updated, visit their Facebook profile here.

5:30 p.m.

Mt. Rose, Donner Ski Ranch and Sierra-at-Tahoe announce closures

More ski resorts announced closures for Friday due to the weather conditions. For more information, check to above Resort Closures list for details.

Lake Tahoe resident says it's not a good time to visit the area right now. Many ski resorts are closed and I-80 and Highway 50 are snow-covered.

5 p.m.
Traffic on WB I-80 being held in two spots

Traffic is being held on westbound I-80 at the Nevada state line and in Truckee due to a big rig crash near Eagles Lake, according to Caltrans.

4:40 p.m.
Chain control in effect on Hwy 50

Caltrans say chain control is in effect on Highway 50 starting at Fred's Place which sits a 4,900 feet and in Meyers.

1:30 p.m.
Northstar announces Friday closure

Northstar Mountain resort announced its closure for Friday due to the current winter storms. Continued closures are still being evaluated at this time, according to the resort. Visitors can check back on its Twitter page for updates.

11:30 a.m.
Heavenly to close Friday

Heavenly ski resort announced it will be closed Friday due to the incoming atmospheric river storm system. See the resort's full statement here.

11:14 a.m.
No chains required yet on I-80 and Highway 50 to Tahoe

There are no chain requirements in effect for either I-80 or Highway 50 heading to Tahoe as of Thursday morning. For the latest on road conditions, visit Caltrans real-time map here.

10:01 a.m.
Kirkwood Resort closed for Friday, Saturday TBD

Kirkwood Resort announced that it's closing Friday ahead of the incoming storm, and its opening on Saturday is to be determined. The resort announced: "Our team will be working everywhere we safely can just to maintain the mountain for future operations. At this time we do not know if we will be able to open on Sat Mar 11, and when we are able to operate again, expect delays to mtn ops."

8:30 a.m.
Palisades Tahoe warns guests of delays and wind holds due to incoming storm

Although most of the Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows resorts opened this morning, the operations staffed warned guests of possible delays and closues due to the incoming high winds.

MORE: 4 CA ski resorts reach 600 inches of snow this season with more on the way

In a tweet, they said they currently have "50+MPH winds on the ridgelines with 75+MPH gusts." They also said winds are expected to increase through the day.

8 a.m.
National Weather Service issues winter storm warning for Sierra

The NWS tweeted saying the warning a winter storm warning will be in effect from Thursday through Sunday with anywhere from 2 to 8 feet of snow possible in the area. They said mountain travel is "highly discouraged" with all people in the area to be prepared for chain controls, major travel delays, and possible road closures.

7:15 a.m.
Kirkwood Resort records 8 inches of snow overnight more coming

The resort tweeted that their 24-hour snow total was 8 inches but that more was in the forecast for the evening. Like other resorts, they said guests can expect very high winds and some operations closures/delays as the storm develops.

RELATED: Incredible video roundup shows snow across CA

From Los Angeles to Truckee to Mission Peak. A stunning amount of snow has swept across the Golden State. These videos shows the best moments.

Wednesday, March 8

12:45 p.m.
City of South Lake Tahoe issues local emergency proclamation for severe winter storms

South Lake Tahoe has issued a local emergency proclamation for the incoming severe winter storms. The city manager of South Lake Tahoe said the proclamation will leverage "all available tools from local, state, and federal resources in response to potential impacts from the forecasted atmospheric river."

9:00 p.m.
Heavenly Ski Resort warns all drivers that chains or 4WD with snow tires are needed to access base areas

The resort said people can expect icy roads at and on the way to their base areas and that chains or 4-wheel drive with snow tires would be needed to get access.

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