While government experts predict much of the country will have a warmer and drier winter than normal, what happens in the Sierra and western Nevada is anyone's guess.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center this week forecast that with a moderate La Nina in the Pacific, the northwest could see a wet winter, but the southwest and other portions of the country could be warm and dry.
Lake Tahoe and western Nevada are right along the dividing line.
Kelly Redmond of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno said that means it could go either way.
"We're in this nether region, an in-between land," Redmond said. "It's the central part of the teeter totter."
But after a dismal snowpack last year, ski resorts and water suppliers are hoping for a winter wallop.
So far, Mother Nature has been teasing the region with early fall snowflakes.
A storm system Tuesday night left 5 inches of snow at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, which reported its first snowfall on Sept. 20.
Chains or snow tires were required early Wednesday over most mountain passes in the Lake Tahoe region, including Interstate 80 and U.S. 50. Most restrictions were lifted by midmorning.