A winter storm warning went into effect on Thursday afternoon and is expected to last until 4 p.m. today with the heaviest snow occurring overnight.
According to the National Weather Service, Carson City residents can expect to see 3 to 6 inches of snow by 10 a.m. today, adding to the 2 to 4 feet of snow that has already fallen in the Sierra Nevada.
Alpine Meadows ski resort just north of Lake Tahoe reported up to 35 inches of snow over a 24-hour period ending Thursday morning for a total of 41⁄2 feet of snow since Tuesday night. Other Tahoe resorts are offering similar powder.
"Mother Nature has truly kicked into high gear" in February after a dry January, said Alpine Meadows spokeswoman Rachael Woods.
Resort operators said the timing for the snow is good because the Presidents Day weekend traditionally is one of their busiest periods of the season.
The latest storm prompted widespread chain controls in the Sierra, including on all three major highways linking the Sacramento, Calif., and Lake Tahoe areas: Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Highway 88 over Carson Pass. Under the restrictions, tire chains are mandatory on all vehicles except those with four-wheel drive.
National Weather Service forecasters said Sierra motorists should expect more chain controls, long delays and road closures over the next two to three days as more storms were expected to hammer the region.
California and Nevada water officials are welcoming the storms, noting Sierra runoff provides much of the water for homes, farms and businesses in the states.
The storms have pushed water content in the Lake Tahoe basin's snowpack up to 127 percent of average for the date. That figure for Tahoe had been more than 200 percent of normal for the date after an unusually snowy December and November, but dropped after a dry January.
Nevada Highway Patrol Spokesman Chuck Allen reminded motorists to drive slowly and cautiously.
"With another band of winter-like weather forecast for our region this week, motorists can greatly minimize the chance of an unplanned event by adjusting their driving habits and allowing more time to accomplish their commute," he said. "In an effort to maximize your visibility, remove all snow from the windshield, side mirrors, rear window both tail lights and rear license plate before starting your journey."
He said that commuters who spot a stranded motorist or other roadway emergency may dial *NHP from a cell phone so that the closest trooper can be dispatched.