Washoe County has issued a stage 1 avalanche alert for Crystal Bay and the Third Creek area on North Shore.

While stage 1 is the lowest level avalanche alert, the county is warning people in those areas to be prepared.

Snowfall intensity and totals, along with strong winds, were more than expected last night, and snow depths are now covering the anchors in Crystal Bay, according to the county’s avalanche expert.

Avalanche warnings could go to stage 2 this afternoon, and stage 3 by nightfall (stage 3 means shelter in place) if the storm continues at this strength throughout the day.

Earlier this month, a similarly-intense storm led to a stage 2 avalanche warning in the Crystal Bay and Third Creek areas.

As previously reported by the Tribune, Washoe County Emergency Manager Aaron Kenneston said he hoped those previous warnings during an otherwise snow-sparse winter would remind residents in the area to be prepared.

A winter storm warning will remain in effect through 5 a.m. Saturday. The Sierra Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for the Lake Tahoe backcountry through 7 a.m. Saturday.