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Storm Latest: Spring storm bringing snow, thunderstorms to the Sierra

Significant snow for May is set to fall in Sierra today through Saturday.
Credit: Richard Baker
Snow in Truckee (May 20, 2021) Credit: Richard Baker

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — UPDATE 5:30 p.m. Thursday:

ABC10 meteorologist Tracy Humphrey has the latest on the snowy conditions in Kingvale:


UPDATE 3:40 p.m. Thursday:

The California Highway Patrol Truckee has reported multiple collisions on Donner Pass.

According to a tweet from CHP - Truckee, drivers are asked to use caution.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m. Thursday:

Snow is now falling in the Sierra along Interstate 80, according to the National Weather Service.

Some wet snow being observed above 5000 feet along Interstate 80. Use caution and take it slow.

Posted by US National Weather Service Sacramento California on Thursday, May 20, 2021

Viewer Richard Baker sent in this photo of from Truckee with snow in a tree.  

Credit: Richard Baker
Snow in Truckee (May 20, 2021) Credit: Richard Baker

Upload your photos on the ABC10 app.

UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.

Updated timing on this late spring storm shows snow arriving in the Tahoe Basin around noon Thursday. The chance of snow will continue through Saturday with overnight snow levels dropping as low as 4,500 feet in some areas.

The heaviest accumulation will be on Thursday with lighter showers Friday and Saturday. Totals will range from 1-6 inches on the passes.

Caltrans is scheduled to close SR-4/Ebbetts Pass and SR-108/Sonora Pass at noon Thursday.

These late chilly conditions can be especially dangerous for hikers, campers and people participating in outdoor recreation.

Credit: KXTV

Not much rain for the valley but cooler temperatures with highs in the 70s.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control issued a Health Caution due to blowing dust with gusty winds through Friday.


Travelers, tourists and locals should plan ahead for snow moving in later this week. Starting Thursday, to at least Friday, significant snow is coming that may impact outdoor plans in the Sierra.

Snow levels will be low for May and drop to the 4,500-foot elevation level late Thursday to Friday morning. This should bring snow to Truckee, Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood, Pinecrest and Blue Canyon among other locations.

Some forecasts call for six to eight inches near Lassen Volcanic National Park, three to four inches for Donner Summit and I-80 and one to two inches for Echo Summit on Highway 50. Other roads like Highway 120 through Tioga Pass may be closed due to weather and snow. 

Road conditions will be one of the biggest impacts with slow traffic and slick road surfaces and the possibility of chain controls later on Thursday and Friday.

Early Thursday, the snow might struggle to stick to paved roads. The roads retain heat much better than vegetation and gravel where it will have an easier time sticking and accumulating. 

A concern is for people getting caught off guard. Campers, hikers, off roaders and people traveling to summer cabins may get delayed or stuck in the snow. There is a decent chance some side roads will have the snow stick and people may have a hard time getting out.  

Some of the snow and rain chances stick around Friday and part of Saturday as well. The changes in the Sierra will linger for a few days with colder temperatures, keeping snow around for a few days.

WATCH MORE FROM ABC10: What does "Exceptional" drought really mean for California?

The drought in California has been growing for two years and now 14% of the state is in "Exceptional" drought.  That is the top-level category from the US drought monitor. 

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