A warm and wet storm hitting the Lake Tahoe region will trigger a winter storm warning, a flood watch and an avalanche watch starting Wednesday evening.
Above 7,000 feet a winter storm warning is set to take effect at 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Heavy snow is expected above 7,500 feet, where 2 to 3 feet of snow could accumulate. Localized amounts up to 4 feet are expected near the Sierra Crest.
Down to 7,000 feet, 4 to 10 inches of snow may accumulate, with localized amounts up to 18 inches possible west of California Route 89.
At lake level, a flood watch will take effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Both the storm warning and flood watch will remain in effect until 5 a.m. Friday.
“A warm and wet winter storm with a deep tap of sub-tropical moisture will bring moderate to heavy rain to areas below 7,500 feet tonight and early Thursday,” the weather service warns. “The snow levels fall to 7,000 feet Thursday, but the moderate to heavy rain continues into Thursday evening.”
Up to 3 inches of rain are possible during the storm. As of 4:53 a.m. Wednesday, the Lake Tahoe Airport recorded 0.62 inches of precipitation in 24 hours.
The excessive rain on top of recent snow could increase the chances of flooding.
“Small creeks and streams, poor drainage areas, low water crossings, and recently burned areas are the most susceptible to flooding,” the service adds. “Excessive rainfall may also generate rock and mudslides in steep terrain.”
Also at 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Sierra Avalanche Center is issuing an avalanche watch for the Lake Tahoe backcountry. The watch will remain in effect until 7 a.m. Friday.