This week’s snowstorm proved the forecasts correct and delivered the heaviest snowfall the region has seen in several years, heaping 50 inches of snow on Incline Village and Crystal Bay, the southwestern region of Washoe County.

Washoe County Roads Division crews worked a total of 308 hours as of Friday morning to clear the roads in this region. While the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area has approximately 72 miles of paved road that the county maintains, crews repeated their routes to keep the roads clear, and collectively plowed 2,200 miles during the three-day storm. 

“The North Lake Tahoe area is always a high priority during snow storms because of the sheer volume of snow it receives,” Eric Crump, Washoe County division director, said. “We plan ahead for storms like this, we have a methodical approach to safety and accessibility, and our equipment operators are dedicated to the mission of clearing roads and keeping our residents safe.”  

The National Weather Service projects that the storm will taper off Friday afternoon and into the weekend before a slightly warmer storm rolls in on Monday. Roads crews will use the break in weather to widen roads with the six snow blowers that are stationed in the north Lake Tahoe region. Snow plows push the snow onto the shoulder of the road, and blowers then break up the packed snow on the shoulder and blow it away from traffic routes. 

While every effort is made to keep all roads accessible, Washoe County prioritizes routes during large storm events to ensure access for emergency vehicles, school busses at high elevations, and overall safety. Priority 1 routes are roads that provide access to major structures, steep grades, overpasses and bridges, and major arterial routes.  

Priority 2 routes are secondary arterial routes, residential roads, and all other school bus routes. Priority 3 includes all unpaved roads, cul-de-sacs, and jogging/bicycle paths.  

Washoe County has a Snow and Ice Control Plan that details its methods of preparation for storms, as well as its cleanup operations. Additionally, Incline Village/Crystal Bay residents can use the county’s “Where’s My Plow?” tool to track the snow plows in real time.