City of South Lake Tahoe urges residents to prepare for impacts of rain-on-snow event

jim delso winter

For immediate release

Lindsey N. Baker, PIO, 530-307-1445

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA, March 7, 2023 – The National Weather Service has forecast rain over the next week, including a strong atmospheric river beginning on Thursday, March 9. The potential of heavy rainfall across the region brings the threat of flooding and roof collapses. Flooding may occur as a result of rain on existing snow and ice on the ground, and streams and river basins that are already elevated after numerous storms. Roof collapses are also a potential threat, due to the heavy snow loads and the added weight of moisture from the rain. The snow will absorb this moisture, which will significantly increase the snow load weight and can strain the structure, increasing the chances of structural damage or collapse. Roofs are required to hold a snow load, but the amount of snow this winter is exceptional, pushing the upper limits of what roofs are expected to tolerate.

We urge residents to take the threat of roof collapses and flooding seriously and prepare now. If you have over three feet of snow, as a general guideline, please consult a professional to remove snow from your roof before this event. If you choose to clear it yourself, know your abilities and use extreme caution. There are several factors that determine the roof’s strength abilities, including pitch of roof, construction type, materials used, the amount of snow, and water/ice content of the snow. 

Signs of a compromised roof include:  

  • Sagging ceiling tiles popping
  • New cracks in ceiling sheetrock
  • Cracking or creaking noises 
  • Bowing trusses
  • Cracks in walls or masonry
  • Doors and windows that no longer, or have trouble, opening and closing
  • Severe roof leaks

Sandbags are available at the following location:

Fire Station 3, Behind the Station

2101 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Shovels and bags are provided; shovels are limited, so you are encouraged to bring your own.

To learn if your home or business is in a flood plain or historic localized flooding area, visit this page.

The following flood preparedness tips are provided by Visit this site for more information. 

Know Your Risk for Floods
Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to know types of flood risk in your area. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

Preparing for a Flood
Make a plan for your household, including your pets, so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from flooding. Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response. Gather supplies, including non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and water for several days, in case you must leave immediately or if services are cut off in your area.

In Case of Emergency
Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies. Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.

Sign up for the City of South Lake Tahoe’s emergency warning system by texting your zip code to 38276 or visiting this page.

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