Severe Weather

April 7, 2017

Caltrans is alerting motorists to be prepared for a return to winter driving conditions in the Sierra Mountain areas.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning from 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 8.

Chain controls are to be expected over Donner and Echo Summits beginning Thursday night. While the storm is expected to end Saturday night, chain controls may still be in effect through Sunday morning. Nighttime temperatures will dip below freezing for the next week, creating icy roadway conditions that may require additional chain controls.

The NWS is also warning that wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour will occur during the storm, greatly reducing visibility on Interstate 80 over Donner Pass, U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit, Highway 88 over Carson Pass and Highway 49 over Yuba Pass. Temporary highway closures are possible if white-out conditions occur. The NWS is advising to travel only if necessary. If travel during the storm cannot be delayed, Caltrans encourages motorists to follow the winter driving tips at the Department of Transportation website.

Motorists traveling on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit may be held intermittently during the storm for avalanche control. Highway 89 over Emerald Bay is currently open but may be closed if avalanche hazards occur.

Flooding Safety Tips

  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the US.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.

Sand Bags

Sand and sand bags are available at the City’s Public Works Yard located at 1160 Rufus Allen Blvd. as well as South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue Station #3 located at 2101 Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

Snow Removal Phone Numbers

The City of South Lake Tahoe's snow removal phone line is (530) 542-6030.
For County residents, the snow removal phone number is (530) 573-3180.

Snow Removal for Safety

“Snow Safe” suggestions when snow conditions exist:

• City snow plows are deployed when an average of three (3) inches of snow have fallen (accumulated) on the ground city wide. When snow conditions, snow plows have the right of way on streets and vehicles left unattended in the streets are subject to citation and/or tow. The best policy is to keep your vehicle(s) parked off the streets at all times.
• Cars subject to citation and/or tow are those parked in the street right-of-way. The City right-of-way extends beyond the edge of the pavement to the property line, generally 5 to 10 feet beyond the edge of the pavement.
• The primary purpose of snow removal is to clear snow from streets for emergency vehicles, school buses, hospital entry, refuse trucks and all vehicle traffic.
• The City is asking that you keep all trash containers behind the berm, on your property. Improper placement of trash containers can result in damaged containers and/or snow removal equipment. This affects the level of service we are able to provide to the community.
• When shoveling snow from your driveway, shovel to the right as you face the street. This way, the plow will move the snow further down the road, rather than move the shoveled snow back into your driveway.
• Child Safety-please keep children indoors while snow removal operations are underway.
• Pedestrian Safety-Don't watch snow removal operations from the edge of the road.
• Back Off - Keep a safe distance (40+ feet) when driving/standing behind snow removal equipment.
• Slow Down! - The maximum speed when chain controls are in effect.

How to Tell if the Snow Load on Your Roof Is Too Much:

Your interior doors are a really good clue. If they begin to stick, that signals there’s enough weight on the center structure of the house to distort the door frame. Ignore doors on exterior walls but check interior doors leading to second-floor bedrooms, closets, and attics in the center of your home. Also, examine the drywall or plaster around the frames of these doors for visible cracks.

Liberty Utilities:

Liberty Utilities offers the following advice if your power goes out:

  • Report outages and monitor outage information by going to our website and choose the Emergencies & Outages link at the top. Outages may also be reported to Liberty Utilities at 1-844-245-6868.
  • People should stay away or in their car if they encounter a downed power line.
  • Do not approach any downed power lines even if you think they are dead; call 911 to report if they pose an immediate danger.
  • If someone in your house is on life support, develop a backup plan.
  • Review safety rules for portable generators if you own one.
  • Learn how to override your electric garage door opener
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed to reduce food spoilage.
  • If unopened and full, food can last for two days.
  • Create an emergency kit that includes a blanket, flashlight, batteries and first aid supplies. Store these items in a water-tight container.

Liberty asks that customers go to the website to get the latest information available so phone lines can remain available for emergencies only. Excellent example of effective sandbagging.

Good sandbagging example in a driveway

In order to prepare for Winter storms, we encourage residents to get prepared by doing the following:

  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, #StayHomeStaySafe.
  • Get sand bags. Sand bags are available at the City yard at 1160 Rufus Allen Blvd and also at Fire Station #3 at 2101 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
  • Clear storm drains. There are 1,874 storm drains in the city. City crews will be out clearing to clear high priority drains in expected flood areas. Residents can also help by clearing any storm drains in front of their home. Use a shovel or pick to break ice and snow away from storm drains so that water can enter the drains.
  • Prepare for utility outage. Gather flashlights and replace batteries. During the storm, Liberty Utility crews will work 24/7 to restore power where needed. To report a power outage, call 844-245-6868.
  • Keep roofs cleared. Snow with high water content is heavy. When it’s followed up by torrential rain, existing snow on your roof will become heavier. Spend Friday and Saturday clearing as much snow off your residential structures before the next storm arrives.
  • Expect berms. Heavy snow is more difficult to plow and often results in berms in driveways and at street intersections.
  • Stock up on supplies. People using oxygen tanks need to have battery back-up power on hand. Residents should store up on food, water, batteries, pet food. #StayHomeStaySafe
  • Don’t drive through water that is too deep.  If flooding occurs, don’t drive through it.
  • Stay informed. Tune into TV, radio stations, and/or social media for storm updates.
  • Get the word out. Advise neighbors, friends and family of expected flooding and to plan and prepare.
  • Emergency Operations. In anticipation of flooding and severe weather, the City has already contacted American Red Cross and prepared its Emergency Operations Teams to be on call and ready to open evacuation centers as needed. Stay up to date with emergency and weather information with the City’s social media accounts, Twitter feed, Facebook, and NewsFlash reports.

Only use 911 for emergencies

Be Safe During the Storm

The City will be posting updates throughout the storm at: