Sierra reaching record snow pack; more flurries expected in Lake Tahoe area

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Monday, March 6, 2023
Sierra reaching record snow pack; more flurries expected in Tahoe
The Sierra is reaching record snow pack levels as more snow is expected in the Lake Tahoe area.

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- Our storms have walloped Tahoe, with snow leading to closed roads, chain restrictions and growing avalanche danger. But, there's also the possibility that we'll see some record snowfall -- and the Sierra snow pack may reach a record high.

Kevin "Coop" Cooper has plenty of snow to be thankful for. He lives in Meyers, near South Lake Tahoe.

"I live in the snow capital of the United States right now," said Cooper. "This stuff is light and dry. This is not heavy snow pack."

All the fresh snow he's seeing is great for the Sierra, the ski resorts and the snow pack.

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But there's also a lot of danger in the mountains right now.

"Right now with that light and dry and the winds we are experiencing, the avalanche danger is upwards of high to extreme," said Cooper.

At Heavenly Mountain Resort, crews have been working on avalanche control. Part of Highway 50 has been closed off-and-on because of that.

The snowy conditions have been intense at times.

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AIR7 HD flew over Crestline and captured a large message written in the snow that read "HELP US!!"

"At the top of the mountain this morning, it was just a white out. I could barely where I was going in my snow cat," said Barret Burghard, director of Operations for Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Meanwhile, CalTrans crews are busy clearing the roads.

"We're out there clearing the snow as quickly as possible, but it's been building up," said Gilbert Mohtes-Chan with CalTrans District 3.

Ski resorts also have their hands full dealing with the all the fresh powder.

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"We've had eight feet in the last week. We're at 40 feet for the season, and there's more in forecast," said Burghard.

Expect snowfall records to be broken in the next couple of days.

"We had a big winter in '16-'17. I think we're going to surpass that," said Burghard.

As for the remarkable Sierra snow pack?

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"We could be reaching record snow pack by the end of the week," said Burghard.

"This has been one of the most consistent and best snow packs we've seen in at least 30 years," said Cooper.

But until then, the reality is it's tough to get around.

"It's tough getting around town right now because the roads have so much snow. It's pretty much one lane in each way so everyone has to cooperate," said Burghard.

Experts say, don't rush to get to the resorts until things clear out.

"We have a lot to do to clean up here. Be safe. Don't try and come to Tahoe right now," said Cooper. "We got plenty of snow. We're going to extend the season. Don't worry."

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