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Tahoe residents surf ‘Pineapple Express’ storm’s strong waves

The storm front in Northern California brought waves big enough to surf at Carnelian Bay on Lake Tahoe Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.
The storm front in Northern California brought waves big enough to surf at Carnelian Bay on Lake Tahoe Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.

The high winds created Thursday by the powerful winter storm wasn’t all bad news.

At least a dozen Lake Tahoe residents braved the cold air and water Thursday morning to surf the estimated seven foot waves created by the storm.

“I’ve never seen waves that big on (lake) Tahoe,” said Tristan Roberts, a Lake Tahoe real estate broker with cblaketahoe.com .

Trying to surf big lake waves has become something of a tradition for sports crazy Tahoe residents, said Roberts. He said the waves between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. were cresting at seven or eight feet. He shot video of a group of a half a dozen people surfing. Another group was further down the beach. The water was a brisk 50 degrees with sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts up to 60 mph at the Lake Tahoe Airport, according to the National Weather Service Reno office.

“It was definitely a big wind event for the lake,” Wendell Hohmann, meteorologist with the weather service. Some mountain locations experienced extreme wind speeds, with at gust of 147 mph recorded at Mt. Lincoln near Sugar Bowl Ski Resort at 9 a.m., Hohmann said.

As of 4:30 p.m. it was still raining at lake level, but that was expected to turn to snow over the evening. Hohmann said higher elevations were already experienced significant snowfall.

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.

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