Weekend storm brings a bit of everything to Valley floor

Slippery roads and a few minor power outtages were the primary issues for Douglas County residents during this weekend's storms, which also filled reservoirs and left an above-average snowpack in the Sierra, according to Alex Hoon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"Looking at the history of these types of storms, it's not something we see very often," Hoon said. "Typically, we see one like this every five to 10 years and we don't expect to see another one like it this year - but it's not out of the question."

Friday's pelting rain gave way to snow in the evening, adding 2.68 inches of precipitation to the totals in Minden. The trend gradually decreased over the weekend, according to Record-Courier weather watcher Stan Kapler.

Sheridan Acres received almost 20 inches of snow and 3.85 inches of precipitation Friday through Sunday, according to weather watcher George Uebele.

"There wasn't much going on after Sunday evening," Kapler said. "But the totals for Minden this year are 13.5 inches of snow and 6.73 inches of moisture."

Despite the good news, the area will still be in need of more precipitation, according to Hoon.

"This is the time of year we expect to increase our snow pack. We need to keep that going," he said. "If we see a period of dry weather, we could go back to below normal, but for now, most of the water levels are back up to normal for this time of year."

Kirkwood received 8 to 11 feet of snow, and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority boasted about their blue skies, clear roads and 11 feet of fresh powder.

"This snowfall delivers a guaranteed ski base depth making way for a record breaking ski season," said Patrick Kaler executive director of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. "Ski conditions today and throughout the week will be fantastic."

Sgt. James Halsey, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, said this weekend's severe weather didn't cause any significant problems for area residents.

"With the exception of inoperative signal lights at the intersections of Highway 395 at Johnson and Topsy lanes, no utility outages have been reported within the county," he said in a press release.

Power outages were short in Carson Valley Friday, and Topaz Ranch Estates experienced a brief outtage Sunday. A total of 104 traffic-hazard incidents, which include everything from cars skidding off roads to unpassable streets due to snow and ice, occurred over the weekend but there were no major accidents and no road closures, Halsey said.

"Sunday we had a total of 32 traffic accidents, both injury and non-injury," he said. "On an average weekend, we typically have eight to 10 accidents, but I'm pleased with the way people handled the storm.

"Most added to their driving time and took it slow," he said.

Minden-Tahoe Airport Manager Jim Braswell said it took three days to dig out during the last big storm, but this time airport staff and Douglas County's road crew plowed the main runway, taxiways and T-hangar area in record time.

"They started Friday night. I want to credit our staff and the road department," he said. "We appreciate their assistance."

Winds pelted the eastern slope of the Sierra Tuesday, making way for unsettled weather which is expected to last through today.

"The Valley floor could see a mix of rain and snow, and the foothills will see snow through tonight," Hoon said. "Thursday, the showers will be tapering off and the rest of the week is sunny and clear."

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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