With a severe winter weather storm approaching the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Lake Tahoe Basin this weekend, Sheriff Ron Pierini and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department wish to take a moment to remind our residents and visitors about proper preparation for a winter storm.
This storm is projected to generate winds of up to 60 mph in the Tahoe Basin, with possible winds of 145 mph across mountain peaks. The storm is also projected to drop approximately five feet of snow. While five feet of snow is certainly not severe for this area, the amount of snow coupled with the accompanying strong winds produces the possibility for large snowdrifts in residential areas, thereby possibly blocking ingress/egress for residents. Additionally, road closures due to snow/ice, or inoperative utilities due to downed power lines caused by severe weather, are both possibilities. Residents should prepare for self-sufficiency for up to 72 hours - including potential loss of heat in your home if your home is equipped with an electrically operated heater (most modern gas furnaces have an electric start system).
Preparation includes storage of sufficient food, water, warm clothing, blankets and prescription medications (if applicable). Additionally, every resident should maintain a home emergency kit, which ought to include at minimum: a first aid kit, a battery operated flashlight with spare batteries, a battery operated radio with spare batteries, illumination candles, matches, 100 ft of rope or twine, roll of duct tape, and a general-purpose survival tool/knife.
Residents and travelers to the area should ensure their vehicles are in good mechanical order. They should have snow tires already mounted and carry tire chains with them. Motorists should also carry an emergency roadside kit, which ought to contain all of the previously listed items of the home survival kit in an amount to sustain the motorist and any passengers for at least 24 hours. Additionally, they should carry within the vehicle a small mechanics tool kit, roadside flares, jumper cables, a tow strap or tow chain at least 20 feet long, and two blankets.
All members of the Douglas County Sheriff's and Tahoe-Douglas Fire Departments are well trained and prepared to provide emergency services in a contingency weather environment. For this weekend's severe weather storm event, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department will have extra staffing and equipment available; including augmentation by our Citizen Patrol members and a tracked 'Sno-Cat' rescue vehicle operated by our Search and Rescue members in the event an emergency extrication is required that cannot be made by conventional means.
The Douglas County Emergency Management Office has pre-planned for the use of citizen emergency shelters if required. Information regarding the use of those facilities will be disseminated via the news as dictated by the severity of the event.
Updates on local weather conditions can be obtained from local television and radio news sources, or from the internet by logging onto the National Weather Service at: www.wrh.noaa.gov/rev/
Updates on local road conditions can be obtained from local television and radio news sources, or from the internet by logging onto the Nevada Department of Transportation web site at: www.nevadadot.com
Citizens are reminded that if immediate emergency services are needed during this event, they should call 911. Situations of a non-emergent nature or requests for information should be reported or requested on the non-emergency line: 782-9935.
Additional press releases will be forthcoming as this event progresses.