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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

Tahoe Blizzard / 3.24

Updated: Mar 18


Far East Center, Palisades Tahoe


On Wednesday, February 28th, it was a Spring-like day, warm enough to take a dip in the Lake.


It was the calm before the perfect storm.



We started seeing Winter Storm Warnings from credible sources including our Olympic Valley Fire Department the next morning and then Blizzard Warnings went into effect from Thursday at 10am through Sunday, March 3rd at 10am.



Huge storms were moving in from the Bay Area gunning for us in Olympic Valley.


"It's really a perfect setup here," said FOX Weather Winter Storm Specialist Tom Niziol. "Precipitation is coming off the largest ocean in the world. It's an inexhaustible supply of moisture. And it is hitting the Sierra range broadside/perpendicular. That gives it the most amount of lift going over those mountains… It’s kind of like the perfect storm."


Cold air, high winds, and heavy snow seldom come as one package.


For the next 4 days rare blizzard conditions battered our mountains, closing our ski resorts with frigid temperatures, hurricane force winds, and heavy snow.


This blizzard was unusually intense and extended, even for an area familiar with exceptional weather like the Sierra.


Here's what it looked like from the epicenter of this ferocious, lingering storm.



The Fury

Palisades Tahoe was hit by record-breaking 184 mph winds, "the strongest wind gust ever reported in the Sierra," according to the National Weather Service.


"This is not an ordinary storm," said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain during a YouTube forecast. It was unique because "we rarely get air masses this cold that are also this moist," said Swain.



Whiteout conditions made travel impossible by car, and nearly impossible by foot.



Aerial Tram, Palisades Tahoe, Friday March 1st, 1pm


KT Base Bar Friday, March 1st, 1pm


Olympic Valley Post Office - Saturday, March 2nd, 1am


And the storm’s intensity didn't let up on Friday, it doubled down overnight.


This is our “get away” car (see photo below) buried under fresh snow on Sunday. It's like something out of the movie Baby Driver. You know, just in case we have to get outta dodge in a hurry…


Our Subaru buried under snow, Saturday, March 2nd


Layer upon layer of pow piled up, providing incredible opportunities for outdoor exercise... with a shovel, of course.


It's called "Sierra Cement" in these parts for a reason.



It also made for some Olympic Valley playtime for both people...


Olympic Valley Post Office - Saturday, March 2nd, 4:30pm


... and their pets.



The Aftermath

On Sunday around 2pm, our friend & neighbor, Ryan Williams (Instagram: @ryanw.shred.on) and his daughter were boarding by our apartment. Ryan was filming his daughter and this happened.


Watch the roof cornice. It literally shook our entire complex as the icy snow slid off in front of me, slamming on the ground below.



I snapped this photo of Ryan and his daughter (see below) from our balcony moments after he shared his video with us. Thankfully, no one got injured.



As the storm moved on it became evident some car owners were less fortunate than others.



And ponytail icicles fell and froze from roof tops.



And menacing piranha-like teeth formed with unnatural precision.



And supernatural "Grudge-like" ice dams manifested, keeping us on our toes and aware that at any moment one might jump out from the dark corners of our home.



On a more optimistic note, fresh powder fell on Olympic Valley like Stars on Alabama, turning what could have been a cat-astrophe into a ski freak's dream-come-true.



Miracle March

In the first four days of the month we experienced "Miracle March," a term coined in 1991, following California's worst drought since the Dust Bowl and NorCal mountains were on pace for their worst year of snowfall in recorded history.


While Olympic Valley wasn't in a drought this year, local ski plankers complained about the lack of snow and what seemed to be a very short and insignificant winter. That is, until Friday, March 1st.


After the epic blizzard of 2024 passed, the American Flag at our Olympic Valley Post Office was tattered... but still there.



***



I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident, married to Nicola Kennedy (in photo above). I’m a premium ghostwriter and photographer. I just want to say thanks for your attention - I appreciate it in such a noisy world. If you enjoyed it, please share with others.

It means a lot to me and it helps others see the story.


If you're interested in owning any photos in my gallery: click here, call or text me at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: michael.kennedy999@gmail.com. 

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2 Comments


michaelskennedy1
michaelskennedy1
Mar 10

Great coverage of a momentus occassion

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Michael Kennedy
Michael Kennedy
Mar 10
Replying to

Thanks dad. All good here now.

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