Storm gives snowpack a boost

This weekend's storm was the biggest of the season, bringing up to three times the amount forecast for South Shore's mountain resorts like Heavenly and Kirkwood, according to the Lake Tahoe Visitor's Authority.

"Sierra-at-Tahoe received up to 5 feet and Kirkwood, 3-4 feet," the Authority said.

Heavenly Ski Resort spokesman Russ Pecoraro said the resort got 3 to 4 feet of snow overnight and a total of 6 feet in the last 24 hours.

"We are so excited, it's a great way to kick off the spring season," he said. "March and April are huge months for us."

The news wasn't all good.

Monday's storm, which left more than six inches of new snow on the valley floor, also snarled traffic and caused power outages.

A power line knocked down by heavy snow and wind near Cowboys and Angels Spalon in Genoa resulted in a 4-hour loss of electricity for the greater Genoa area.

The power line was live and caused a momentary brownout in Genoa at about 8:45 p.m. Power was later shut down to the town from about midnight to 4 a.m. to make repairs, according to Sierra Nevada Power spokesman Karl Walquist.

Walquist could not say how many people were affected by the outage. Power crews were working Tuesday on a power outage in Markleeville.

"We had lots of momentary breaker trips where the lights flickered on and off briefly throughout the area," Walquist said. "The cause was definitely a combination of snow and wind."

The Sierra snowpack was one of the biggest benefactors, with total precipitation increasing in the Lake Tahoe Basin from 49 to 72 percent of normal by Tuesday. The Carson River Basin, which was previously at 42 percent of average has risen to 64 percent and the Walker River Basin has risen from 41 to 64 percent, according to information from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

"This storm helped a lot, but we're still not ahead of the curve," said National Weather Service meteorologist Rudy Cruz. "We had a very dry December and January and this is probably the first decent snowfall this winter.

"We're hoping for more of a weather pattern this spring, to bring precipitation to the higher elevations," he said.

The forecast for this week is unsettled and cloudy. The chance of snow showers is expected to diminish and the temperatures rise, from 30s and 40s during the week to the low 50s and 60s into the weekend.

-- Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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