Major storm dumps snow and closes mountain roads in California
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COLFAX, Calif. (AP) – A major storm over Christmas weekend caused whiteout conditions and closed key highways amid blowing snow in the mountains of northern California and Nevada, forecasters warning that trips to the Sierra Nevada could be difficult for several days.
A 112-kilometer stretch of Interstate 80 was closed Sunday from Colfax, Calif., Through the Lake Tahoe area to the Nevada state border. The California Department of Transportation has also closed other mountain roads while warning drivers of poor visibility and slippery conditions.
“Expect significant travel delays on all routes,” the National Weather Service office in Reno, Nevada said. Twitter. “Today is the kind of day to stay home if you can. More snow is on the way too!
The weather service issued a winter storm warning for Great Lake Tahoe until 1 a.m. Tuesday due to possible “widespread whiteout conditions” and wind gusts of up to 45 mph (72 km / h).
The latest in a series of severe storms hit southern California with heavy rains and winds that flooded streets and knocked down power lines on Saturday night. Powerful blasts toppled trees, damaged carports and detonated a Goleta high school athletic shed in a front yard two blocks away, according to Santa Barbara County firefighters. No injuries were reported.
Over 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) of rain fell in the past 24 hours in the San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County, while Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo County recorded 1.61 inches (4 centimeters), the weather service said.
Los Angeles International Airport said a “storm-related electrical problem” forced Terminal 5 to partially close, forcing post-Christmas passengers to divert to other terminals for certain services.
“Cancellations and delays are possible, so it will be important to check the status of your flight today if you are passing through Terminal 5” RELEASED tweeted.
In the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, crews were repairing a section of State Route 18 that rolled down a hill after heavy rains Thursday night. The closure of the main road to Big Bear Ski Resort could take weeks, officials said.
Persistent storms were welcomed in parched California, where the Sierra’s snowpack was at dangerously low levels after weeks of dry weather. But the state’s water resources department reported on Christmas Eve that the snowpack was between 114% and 137% of normal across the range, with more snow expected.
From Friday evening to Saturday, 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow fell at Homewood on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. About one foot (30 centimeters) has been reported at Northstar near Truckee, Calif., And 10 inches (25 centimeters) at Mount Rose Ski Resort on the southwestern edge of Reno.
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