Skip to main content
Tags: california nevada pacific storm blizzard warning

High Winds, Heavy Snow Close Roads, Ski Resorts in N. Calif.

High Winds, Heavy Snow Close Roads, Ski Resorts in N. Calif.

Saturday, 02 March 2024 05:22 PM EST

A powerful blizzard that a meteorologist termed “as bad as it gets” howled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, closing a long stretch of Interstate 80 in Northern California, forcing ski resorts to shut down, and leaving tens of thousands of homes without power.

More than 10 feet (3 meters) of snow was expected at higher elevations, National Weather Service meteorologist William Churchill said Saturday, creating a “life-threatening concern” for residents near Lake Tahoe and blocking travel on the key east-west freeway.

“It’s a blizzard," said Dubravka Tomasin, a resident of Truckee, California, for more than a decade. “It’s pretty harrowing.”

Kyle Frankland, a veteran snow plow driver, said several parts of his rig broke as he cleared wet snow underneath piles of powder.

“I’ve been in Truckee 44 years. This is a pretty good storm,” Frankland said. "It’s not record-breaking by any means, but it’s a good storm."

Churchill said snow totals by late Sunday would range from 5 to 12 feet (1.5 to 3.6 meters), with the highest accumulations at elevations above 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). Lower elevations were inundated with heavy rain.

He called the storm an “extreme blizzard for the Sierra Nevada, in particular, as well as other portions of Nevada and even extending into Utah and portions of western Colorado.” But he said he didn't expect records to be broken.

“It’s certainly just about as bad as it gets in terms of the snow totals and the winds," Churchill said. “It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Thomas Petkanas, a bartender at Alibi Ale Works in Incline Village, Nevada, said about 3 feet (1 meter) of snow had fallen by midday Saturday. He said patrons shook off snow as they arrived at the Lake Tahoe brewpub and restaurant.

“It’s snowing pretty hard out there, really windy, and power is out to about half the town,” Petkanas said by telephone. "We’re one of the few spots open today.”

Earlier, the weather service warned that blowing snow was creating “extremely dangerous to impossible" driving conditions, with wind gusts in the high mountains at more than 100 mph (160 kph).

Avalanche danger was “high to extreme” in backcountry areas through Sunday evening throughout the central Sierra and greater Lake Tahoe area, the weather service said.

California authorities on Friday shut down 100 miles (160 kilometers) of I-80, the main route between Reno and Sacramento, due to “spin outs, high winds, and low visibility.” There was no estimate when the freeway would reopen from the California-Nevada border west of Reno to near Emigrant Gap, California.

Travel was treacherous east of the Sierra, where CalTrans also cited “multiple spin outs and collisions" and “whiteout conditions,” as it closed 90 miles (145 kilometers) of U.S. 395 from near Bishop in the Owens Valley to Bridgeport, north of Mono Lake.

Pacific Gas & Electric reported about 15,500 California homes and businesses without power about 1:30 p.m. NV Energy reported power outages for about 850 customers in and around Incline Village, and more than 2,000 customers without electricity in other parts of northern Nevada.

In southern Nevada, where the weather service issued a warning Saturday for high winds gusting to 70 mph (145 kph), NV Energy reported almost 29,000 customers without power in and around Las Vegas.

A tornado Friday afternoon in Madera County, California, caused some damage to an elementary school, said Andy Bollenbacher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Some ski resorts shut down Friday and were digging out Saturday with an eye toward reopening Sunday.

Palisades Tahoe, the largest resort on the north end of Tahoe and site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, closed all chairlifts Saturday due to snow, wind and low visibility.

Other areas closed Saturday included Sugar Bowl, Boreal and Sierra. Heavenly Mountain Resort planned to open late with limited operations.

The storm began barreling into the region Thursday. A blizzard warning through Sunday morning covers a 300-mile (480-kilometer) stretch of the mountains.

Some ski lovers raced up to the mountains ahead of the storm.

Daniel Lavely, an avid skier who works at a Reno-area home/construction supply store, was not one of them. He said Friday that he wouldn’t have considered making the hour-drive to ski on his season pass at a Tahoe resort because of the gale-force winds.

But most of his customers Friday seemed to think the storm wouldn’t be as bad as predicted, he said.

“I had one person ask me for a shovel,” Lavely said. “Nobody asked me about a snowblower, which we sold out the last storm about two weeks ago.”

Meteorologists predicted as much as 10 feet (3 meters) of snow was possible in the mountains around Lake Tahoe by the weekend, with 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters) in the communities on the lake’s shores and more than a foot (30 centimeters) possible in the valleys on the Sierra’s eastern front, including Reno.

Yosemite National Park closed Friday and officials said it would remain closed through at least noon Sunday.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


US
A powerful blizzard that a meteorologist termed "as bad as it gets" howled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, closing a long stretch of Interstate 80 in Northern California, forcing ski resorts to shut down, and leaving tens of thousands of homes without power.
california nevada pacific storm blizzard warning
834
2024-22-02
Saturday, 02 March 2024 05:22 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
TOP

Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved