Inches of snow on the valley floor in the Truckee Meadows have led officials to warn of avalanche danger in higher elevation areas, and Washoe County officials are advising citizens to stay out of the backcountry.
“We all know new snowfall is enticing, however, it does bring extreme danger in the backcountry,” said Ryan Sommers, fire chief for North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. “There is (a) significant risk of avalanche in the Sierras for the coming days and as a safety precaution people should keep out.”
The greater Lake Tahoe area is facing a “considerable” avalanche warning, according to the Sierra Avalanche Center.
An advisory warned that human-triggered avalanches are likely and natural avalanches are possible.
As much as 30 inches of snow have accumulated at higher elevations. More precipitation is forecasted through the weekend.
Avalanche forecaster for Washoe County, Dick Penniman, said: “The next snowfall that comes in would effectively produce avalanches. Storms from mid-December have caused an ice layer to form in the snowpack. Unstable crystals on top of that are creating dangerous conditions.”