‘Biggest snow producer’ of the season so far hits Tahoe

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A fresh blanket of snow covered the northern Sierra Nevada mountain range Monday afternoon, turning the Tahoe Basin into a wintry snow globe.

The cold front arrived Sunday night and swept across the mountains into Monday, with snowfall reports along the Sierra crest ranging from 6 to 10 inches.

National Weather Service forecaster Scott McGuire said the highest snowfall total for the region came from the Central Sierra Snow Lab Research Springs in Soda Springs that measured 10.3 inches. 

“It was definitely a decent quick-hitting storm that moved through the region, yesterday and through this morning,” McGuire said.”It’s the biggest snow producer we’ve had yet this season.”

Three inches of new snow fell at the base of Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley, Calif. on Oct. 18, 2021.

Kate Abraham

The snow impacted travel on mountain highways, including on Interstates 50 and 80, the main arteries between the Sacramento Valley and the Tahoe Basin. 

The California Highway Patrol in Truckee tweeted that chain controls were lifted at 10:45 a.m.

“That was a pretty wild ride for the first real storm of the year,” the CHP shared.

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Three inches of new snow fell at the base of Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley, Calif. on Oct. 18, 2021.

Three inches of new snow fell at the base of Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley, Calif. on Oct. 18, 2021.

Kate Abraham

A parade of storms is expected to pass over the Sierra through the weekend with the most extreme storm activity expected over the weekend. Mountain travel will likely be impacted.

“There are a lot of signals pointing toward an active week,” McGuire said. “This weekend it’s starting to look better and better for a significant system.”


After two, consecutive dry winters, the October snow was good news in California. Forecasters have said rain and snow in coming days could help quell wildfire activity this fall when offshore winds coupled with dry conditions can fuel destructive blazes. 

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