For Immediate Release
Contact: Joint Information Media Line
Reno, Nevada. Jan. 5, 2017. Washoe County is working with regional partners to warn residents of avalanches in the high-elevation areas due to the inclement weather.
Avalanche danger is very high and officials are advising citizens to stay out of the backcountry until conditions improve.
“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 significant risk of avalanche in the Sierras for the coming days and as a safety precaution people should keep out.”
The Sierra Avalanche Center has issued a “Considerable” avalanche warning in the greater Lake Tahoe area. The Center uses a five-tier system to identify avalanche risk: low, moderate, considerable, high and extreme. The advisory states that human-triggered avalanches are likely and natural avalanches are possible.
With the recent snow storm dropping as much as 30 inches of snow, the expected precipitation forecasted this weekend could cause snow to build up in unstable areas that could trigger avalanches.
Avalanche forecaster for Washoe County Dick Penniman said the incoming weather patterns are concerning.
“The next snowfall that comes in would effectively produce avalanches,” he said. “Storms from mid-December have caused an ice layer to form in the snowpack. Unstable crystals on top of that are creating dangerous conditions.”
With rain and snow expected this weekend, citizens are also advised to prepare for flooding and other hazardous conditions. Northern Nevada first responders are on a heightened state of alert and are asking citizens to do their part to be prepared for adverse weather.
- The National Weather Service in Reno has updated conditions regarding Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories and Flood Watch on their website.
- Washoe County has set up several sandbag locations in unincorporated Washoe County.
- Stay up to date on communication from Washoe County by visiting our Twitter page. Those updates are also available on our website.