Update: Wet storm provides frosting for Washington's Birthday cake

Snow dances in the wind on Jobs Peak just before a winter storm warning takes effect on Sunday.

Snow dances in the wind on Jobs Peak just before a winter storm warning takes effect on Sunday.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

A wet Washington’s Birthday storm gave Heavenly Valley a blackjack with 21 inches of snow over the course of 36 hours, according to snow telemetry for the site at 8,533 feet.

Minden Weather Watcher Stan Kapler reported 1.35 inches of rain in the county seat, which is a record for the date, along with an inch of Sierra cement.

That inch could have turned into a foot, but temperatures were well above freezing in the Valley and barely dropped below 32 degrees in the mountains on Monday morning.

Work on the levee between Carson Valley Golf Course and the East Fork of the Carson River appeared to wrap up before the storm, according to photographer and neighbor JT Humphrey, who has been watching the work closely.

The East Fork rose by around 5 inches due to the storm on Monday afternoon, well short of any flood stage.

As of Tuesday, the 36-hour rain totals in Fredericksburg approached 2 inches, with 1.9 inches in Genoa, and 1.41 inches in Mottsville.

National Weather Service forecasters were backing off on their initial predictions for wet weather, as a storm that dumped up to 2 inches of rain in parts of Carson Valley split on Tuesday.

A winter weather warning for the Sierra Nevada including Stateline was downgraded early Tuesday morning to an advisory through 10 a.m. today as a result.

The two-day storm spiked snow-water equivalence at gauges in the Sierra, with Blue Lakes hitting 94 percent of median on Tuesday morning.

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It’s whiter than George Washington’s powdered wig over Daggett Summit on Kingsbury Grade as thick, wet Sierra cement fell down to the Carson Valley floor this morning.

Highway 88 is closed at Kirkwood and traffic is being held on Highway 50 between Meyers and Twin Bridges for avalanche control  as chains or four-wheel drive with snow tires are required on both Kingsbury Grade and Highway 50.

Chains or snow tires are required to travel on 395 between Carson City and Stephanie Way and from Bodie Flat to Topaz Lake, according to nvroads.com

A backcountry avalanche watch is in effect for the Sierra south of Ebbetts Pass in Alpine County.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the Sierra from Bieber to almost Bishop and the warm wet storm prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for the Sacramento River.

Opening on the Washington’s Birthday holiday, traffic is light out as the storm warning is expected to last until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

An inch of spillover precipitation dumped in the foothills between Fredericksburg and Genoa since around midnight Sunday.

Heavenly Valley snow telemetry recorded 13 inches by 5 a.m. containing 1.1 inches of water. 

Warm temperatures in the Valley kept the snow from piling up and even at Heavenly it was just down to 31 degrees this morning.

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An atmospheric river could bring substantial moisture to the Sierra Nevada on Sunday into the middle of next week, according to the National Weather Service.

“A winter storm watch has been issued for northeastern California and the entire Sierra from the Tahoe Basin through Mammoth Lakes,” said National Weather Service Reno Meteorologist Edan Weishahn. “We’re looking at a long duration heavy snow event for the Sierra and mountain communities with efficient spillover rainfall into Western Nevada from late Sunday into Wednesday.”

While there’s a possibility of snow in the foothills late Monday night, lower elevations will see mostly rain until Wednesday.

“While we aren’t seeing any signals for flooding in Western Nevada, heavier rain showers may produce localized nuisance flooding.”

There’s a chance of around a foot of snow at Lake Tahoe level, increasing to up to three feet in places in the Sierra.

A brief storm is expected to arrive on Saturday bringing breezy conditions to Carson Valley. Snow totals in the mountains are expected to be less than those from Wednesday’s storm.

That storm generated 9 inches of snow at Heavenly Ski Base, according to information related by the National Weather Service.

February has seen an improvement in the snowpack that feeds the Carson River.

Ebbett’s Pass at the top of the East Fork of the Carson River is at 74 percent of average at 18.4 inches of snow-water equivalent as of Friday morning. That’s close to where the snowpack was in 2022 on the same date.

Carson Pass, at the top of the West Fork, is at 64 percent of median or 14.7 inches.

Neither is anywhere near the record set in 2017 of 40.6 inches for the day.


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