Residents in Lake Tahoe Region Race to Clear Snow Before California Storm

“There’s going to be rain, but it’s not going to be enough to wash the problem away. It’s only going to compound it,” Mr. Mills said. “We might just be at a tipping point that we haven’t ever experienced in our history, being in business 40-plus years.”

In Truckee, a town of 17,000 north of Lake Tahoe, even the mayor, Lindsay Romack, spent part of Wednesday clearing off her roof, snowshoeing over six-foot snowdrifts and pulling down snow with a 16-foot rake.

Once known as a railroad outpost near the Nevada border, Truckee has developed into a trendy mountain spot that has become particularly popular among Bay Area tech workers. For years, many drove several hours each way to stay in cabins and ski the slopes on weekends. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, a growing number moved permanently to the region to work remotely.

As the recent storm approached, the town worked to inform residents of the potential dangers, advising homeowners to clear roofs and monitor propane tanks, Ms. Romack said. They had endured an unrelenting few weeks of severe weather.

“Everyone here is just getting a little tired,” Ms. Romack said. “It’s been constant shoveling and snow removal.”

Punctuating the risk of structural damage, the Truckee high school and elementary schools temporarily closed their buildings early this week to allow work crews to clear from rooftops snow that had piled more than six feet high in some spots, said Amber Burke, communications coordinator with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Elsewhere, drivers in South Lake Tahoe are navigating through single-lane roads with eight feet of snow piled on either side, “like you’re in a tunnel,” said Cristi Creegan, the city’s mayor. On Thursday morning, the rooftops of the city were dotted with residents and business owners, shoveling as much snow as possible before the rain arrived.