Com­ing storm set to blan­ket Ta­hoe re­sorts

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAYAREA - By So­phie Haigney

Good news for skiers and snow­board­ers plan­ning to catch open­ing day on the slopes: A ma­jor storm is ex­pected to dump 2 to 3 feet of snow on ar­eas above 8,500 feet in the Sierra.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is­sued a win­ter storm watch for the greater Lake Ta­hoe area, be­gin­ning Wed­nes­day and con­tin­u­ing into late Thurs­day night. The storm is ex­pected to abate by Fri­day morn­ing, pos­si­bly cre­at­ing ideal con­di­tions at some ski re­sorts plan­ning to open Fri­day.

Squaw Val­ley Alpine Mead­ows and Heav­enly Moun­tain Re­sort are among those ski op­er­a­tions hop­ing for a big open­ing week­end.

“This is a great open­ing-day present for

us,” said Sam Kieck­he­fer, a spokesman for Squaw Val­ley Alpine Mead­ows. He also noted that the re­sort got 5 inches of snow Mon­day night.

“It’s early sea­son, but that, com­bined with our snow-mak­ing tech­nol­ogy, we’re ex­pect­ing con­di­tions to be re­ally good,” he said. The re­sort has been able to open be­fore Thanks­giv­ing in eight of the past 10 years.

Ar­eas at lower el­e­va­tion are not ex­pected to get much snow, said Scott McGuire, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist for the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Reno.

“This storm is pretty warm,” McGuire said. “So ar­eas at the level of Lake Ta­hoe it­self won’t get much snow.”

He es­ti­mated that ar­eas along the shore could ex­pect be­tween 2 and 6 inches.

The fore­cast re­mains trou­bling for parts of the Bay Area, par­tic­u­larly those af­fected by the Oc­to­ber wild­fires. The wettest storm of the sea­son is ex­pected to be­gin Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, and 3 to 5 inches of rain are ex­pected in some coastal ar­eas.

“We have a cold front in­ter­act­ing with a weak at­mo­spheric river,” said Anna Sch­nei­der, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Mon­terey.

The weather ser­vice also is­sued a wind ad­vi­sory that in­cludes sev­eral ar­eas af­fected by the wild­fires. The ad­vi­sory, which will run from 1 p.m. Wed­nes­day to 3 a.m. Thurs­day, will af­fect much of the North Bay, in­clud­ing Santa Rosa and Napa, and range all the way south to Santa Cruz.

“Those ar­eas can ex­pect winds of 15 to 30 mph, with gusts over 50 mph,” Sch­nei­der said. The ad­vi­sory warned of pos­si­ble felled trees, downed power lines and blow­ing de­bris.

South of Santa Cruz, the wind ad­vi­sory will be in ef­fect from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thurs­day.

Michael Ma­cor / The Chron­i­cle

Skiers and snow­board­ers en­joy the snow at Mount Rose Ski Ta­hoe re­sort in Reno on Nov. 7. Sev­eral Ta­hoe-area re­sorts hope for a big week­end com­ing up.

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