The winter storm pounding the Lake Tahoe Basin with rain and snow has closed schools, ski resorts, caused travel disruptions and flooding and brought down a couple of structures due to heavy snow load.
Home and business owners have been stressed about snow loads and scrambled Thursday to remove as much snow as possible before the multi-day atmospheric river event that is expected to drop an abundance of rain and high elevation snow.
Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts both announced that they will be closed on Friday.
“Both the city of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County have declared a State of Emergency and we want to do our part and support our community during this emergency situation,” Heavenly said in a social media post. “We expect major challenges as a result of inbound precipitation, both at our resort and across the Tahoe region, so we are making this decision proactively out of an abundance of caution for our employees and guests.”
Heavenly went on to say its team will be assessing conditions day-to-day and expect recovery from the storm to “take a bit of time.”
Palisades Tahoe is also closed due to avalanche danger and flooding on Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows roads.
“Currently it is raining up to 8,500 feet and winds on our ridgeline have just hit 139 mph,” the resort said in a social media post.
Stateline casinos are offering deals to local residents who are worried their homes may not be safe. Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe have discounted room rates for $59 a night with no resort fees. Those interested should go to the front desk and present identification.
Harveys Convention Center is also open as a warming room with power available, free of charge, for those in need.
Many residents were also loading up sandbags Thursday at the Tahoe Valley South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue station and also through Tahoe Douglas Fire at Kahle Community Center at the outside basketball court, marked by an orange cone.
Lake Tahoe Unified School District closed all schools on Friday due to weather and flooding on some campuses.
The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning and flood advisory in effect through 11 a.m. Sunday for strong winds, heavy, high elevation snow and soaking rain.
An avalanche warning has been issued by the Sierra Avalanche Center through Saturday morning and could extend into Sunday morning. The warning says substantial rain on snow, and high intensity snowfall above the rain/snow line will lead to widespread avalanche activity.