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Severe Weather

Atmospheric River Event Sunday
Heavy Rain and Snowmelt to Cause Flooding in South Lake Tahoe

Sunday, January 8, 2017

8:37pm update: Do you need assistance with your pets during this storm? Contact the Humane Society at 530-577-4521 for assistance. According to Caltrans, Highway 50 at Ice House Road may close due to flooding.

8:00 pm update: Liberty Utilities reports a power outage from Heavenly to Al Tahoe Blvd. affecting 2,700 customers. CHP reports that Highway 50 at Kyburz is now reopen.

7:19pm update: Highway 50 closed at Kyburz due to rock slide. Highway 89 closed at Meeks Bay due to flooding.

Ariel view of the Upper Truckee River from 3pm today

7:07pm update: The Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe is currently at 11.26'. There is a VOLUNTARY Red Cross Emergency Evacuation Centers opened at South Tahoe High School (1735 Lake Tahoe Boulevard).

5:55pm update: The Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe is currently at 10.5’.  10.5 is Moderate flooding along Upper Truckee River in Meyers and South Lake Tahoe. 11.5 is Major flooding along Upper Truckee River from Meyers to South Lake Tahoe with significant damage to roads, bridges, homes and businesses. 12.5 is Disastrous flooding all along Upper Truckee River with major damage to homes, businesses, roads and bridges.

5:40pm update: A VOLUNTARY Red Cross Emergency Evacuation Center has been opened at South Tahoe High School in the Multi-purpose room located at
1735 Lake Tahoe Boulevard due to the rapid rising of the Upper Truckee River. 

The Recreation Swim Complex is not available as an evacuation center due to flooding at that location.

3:20pm update: City opens Emergency Operation Center at Lake Tahoe Airport.

Latest update from NOAA as of 10:00am on Sunday, January 8, 2017.
10:00 am update: Highlights pertaining to South Lake Tahoe:
The Atmospheric River shifted slightly North last night.

Excellent example of effective sandbagging.

Local photos from Sunday, January 8, 2017 (photos courtesy of KRLT Radio)
Flooding 010817.jpg

Message from Mayor Sass

12:45 pm on January 7, 2017
Sand has been replenished at the City Yard located at 1160 Rufus Allen Blvd. and Fire Station 3 located at 2101 Lake Tahoe Blvd.  Fill the sand bags yourself.

Latest update from NOAA as of 10:00am on January 7, 2017.
Highlights pertaining to South Lake Tahoe:

  • Rapid rain increase starting around 1pm today.
  • Rain intensity tonight and Sunday early AM and into the daytime.
  • The second storm system is coming in faster so not much of a break. However, lower temps starting on Monday so the Monday-Wednesday storm will be a more traditional snow storm.
  • Now is the time to finish up emergency preparations.

Please see the link below for a complete briefing on the expected flood peaks and impacts, our snow/freezing rain potential for today, and a couple follow-up colder winter storms Monday into Wednesday. 

NOAA Update at 10am on 1/7/17

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a major Atmospheric River to hit the region this weekend starting on Sunday, January 8th and continuing through Monday, January 9th with widespread flooding expected. NOAA is also forecasting another Atmospheric River arriving in the region on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 10th-11th. NOAA is stating that this event could be similar or greater than the floods of 1997 and 2005 which greatly impacted South Lake Tahoe. 

An Atmospheric River is a conveyor belt of vapor that extends thousands of miles from out at sea, carrying as much water as 15 Mississippi Rivers. Each storm can dump inches of rain or feet of snow.  NOAA is predicting 6”-8” of rain falling in the Tahoe Basin between Sunday and Monday; if these predictions hold, residents and visitors of South Lake Tahoe need to be prepared. 

City Public Works and Public Safety crews are working around the clock between Friday and Monday to prepare for the storm. Friday and Saturday crews will be out clearing snow and storm drains. Residents need to prepare for the storm. 

On Friday, January 6th, 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 (www.cityofslt.us/signup).

During the 1997 and 2005 floods the following neighborhoods experienced flooding and we anticipate flooding to occur again during these storms:

  • Lower Tahoe Keys
  • State streets
  • Mobile home parks at 3rd Street and Jean Avenue and Woodbine
  • Winnemucca and Highway 50
  • Pioneer Trail and Blackbart at the meadow

Interactive map of current flooding areas and previous flood reports from 1997 and 2005, including FEMA Flood Zones:

Recreation Center staff are currently working with the Red Cross to have emergency shelter established for residents displaced during the storm. The Recreation Swim Complex is located at 1180 Rufus Allen Blvd. 

Only use 911 for emergencies

Be Safe During the Storm

The City will be posting updates throughout the storm at:

Website         www.cityofslt.us
Facebook       www.facebook.com/OfficialCityofSouthLakeTahoe 
Twitter                    www.twitter.com/cityofslt
Instagram     www.instagram.com/cityofsouthlaketahoe 

In the event the forecast is incorrect. We urge everyone to be prepared. NOAA states this Atmospheric River is one of the largest they’ve seen in many years. Let’s be prepared, #StayHomeStaySafe during the storm.