Winter Storm Alert: Tips for Being PreparedMatty McInnis, January 23, 2021 in Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Winter Storm Tips
Over the next 10 days, forecasters are expecting consistent snowfall from Wednesday through Thursday next week with the potential of delivering Truckee-Tahoe the heaviest amount of precipitation yet this season. The most optimistic gossip is calling for 100-200″ potentially, where the more conservative initial snowfall guestimate is around 3-5+ feet on the mountains and 2-3+ feet at lake level. Click Here to read the full report.
For the hundreds of new residents to the region following the banner 2020 year, this will be the first experience for many of a true Tahoe storm. Living here in the Sierra’s is not for the faint of heart, and it’s important to watch the weather and be prepared.
Here are some tips that I’ve learned from my 15 years of living here and how to endure a classic multiple-day Sierra storm…
- Fill Up Your Gas-Tanks
Road closures, traffic accidents, and powder hounds driving to the mountain will have you in your car much longer than expected. Keep your tanks full!
- Back Your Car Into Your Driveway
Whether you have a garage or not….you may have to get out of the driveway in between plowing schedules. Backing into your driveway allows you to be in a ready position to blast through a berm at the end of your driveway if needed or during an emergency.
- Snowblow/Shovel Often
If you don’t have a plow service, make sure to snow blow and shovel often so as to not put too much stress on your body and your snowblower. Also, make sure to have plenty of shear pins on hand for your snowblower. Shear pins break often in heavy snow and for this reason, is why we call our snow Sierra Cement for nothing. Over-exerting yourself removing snow is one of the leading causes of injury heart attacks and death during snowstorms.
- Stock Up On Supplies
With wind-speeds usually upwards of 70+mph during our storms…power outages are almost guaranteed. Make sure you have enough flashlights/candles and batteries, and even better…if you have a generator, make sure it’s gassed up and ready to go!
- Slow Is Fast
Do everything at a slow pace and give yourself enough time to get to where you’re going. Almost all of the accidents we see in town occur during our first storms and people driving way too fast. Even if you have the proper winter vehicle, drive slow and enjoy the ride. Plus, you really shouldn’t drive more than 25-mph in 4WD.
- Help Your Neighbors
Look around for opportunities to help your neighbors, whether it be to snow blow someone’s berm, scrape a car off, etc… a little goes a long way and this will tighten your bond for years to come.
- Ski/Ride With A Buddy
While this is always a good idea, during a storm you should stick to resort riding and consider lower-angle resorts like Northstar or Homewood while always skiing or riding with a friend. If riding the larger resorts, I recommend you all wear avalanche beacons, and carry a shovel and a probe in a backpack, and know how to use them. Avalanches are real and can happen in bounds just as easily as the backcountry. Being conservative and cautious of the snowpack are good attributes. If it feels like a bad idea in your gut…it probably is. The snow will still be there tomorrow and we will get another storm…be patient.
- Clear Off The Top Of Your Car
While also being illegal, nothing screams “I’m not from here,” like a vehicle with a massive block of snow on the roof. This is not a winter trophy…promise me…don’t be this person. Go to Ace Hardware and get a proper scraper that’ll make getting your roof cleared off easy.
- Relax and Enjoy It
Cabin fever is a real thing and we’ve all felt it living here. Stay mellow, find the beauty and power of Mother Nature, hydrate, eat and get sleep.
- Wear Proper Equipment
Keep your clothes dry and have the right outerwear and footwear to stay dry. This is not the time to go ski in jeans. Invest in GoreTex, waterproof outwears, and rubber boots, you will thank me later!
Above all else, let’s embrace how amazing this incoming snowfall will be for our region on multiple levels from environmental to economic stimulus for our local businesses. Stay safe and see you on the hill!