A second, much stronger winter storm packing heavy snow is headed for the Sierra this weekend after a cold front dropped a half-foot at Lake Tahoe ski resorts and a couple inches fell early Wednesday in the valleys around Reno.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch effective from Saturday evening through Tuesday evening for Lake Tahoe and areas to the north. Several feet of snow is possible with winds up to 100 mph (160 kph) over mountain ridges.
One to 3 feet (30 to 90 cm) of snow is forecast around Tahoe, with up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) possible above elevations of 7,000 feet (2,133 meters), the weather service said Wednesday.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible due to heavy snow and whiteout conditions. Very strong winds could cause tree damage,” the service said.
The new front likely to bring the coldest temperatures so far this season should begin to arrive in the Sierra Thursday night into Friday, with overnight lows dropping into the teens and single digits.
On Wednesday, as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of new snow fell in the south-central Sierra at Mammoth Mountain ski resort south of Yosemite National Park.
At Lake Tahoe, up to 6 inches (15 cm) of snow was reported at Homewood Mountain, Palisades Tahoe and Mount Rose on the southwest edge of Reno, with 5 inches (13 cm) at Heavenly on Tahoe’s south shore and 3 inches (8 cm) at Incline Village on the north shore. About an inch (2.5 cm) was reported in Sun Valley on the north edge of Reno and a half-inch (1 cm) in Carson City.