Massive Sierra Mudslide Cleared From Highway 80

TRUCKEE (CBS SF) – A massive mudslide several football fields long and measuring 7 feet deep has been cleared from Highway 80 at Donner Summit, allowing authorities to re-open the major freeway linking Reno to the Bay Area.

The California Highway Patrol was forced to close the busy highway for nearly 16 hours after the hillside – saturated from a potent weekend storm – slid onto the highway at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Along with the mounds of mud, the slide pulled down power lines which were complicating the cleanup.

The heavy winter storm has also shuttered some ski resorts in Northern California for a second day.

Sugar Bowl Resort posted on its Facebook page that a power outage and “significant avalanche hazards” will keep the resort closed until Tuesday morning. It was closed Sunday.

Heavenly Mountain also stated on social media that it was experiencing strong winds and that the California side was without power. It, too, closed Sunday.

To the south, spokeswoman Joani Lynch says Mammoth Mountain ski resort would open Monday after closing Sunday over high winds, thunder and lightning.

Meanwhile, the Nevada National Guard is deploying high-water vehicles to help evacuate residents in one town east of Reno, and to shuttle damage assessment teams to Sparks.

Lt. Col. Mickey Kirschenbaum said Monday about a dozen guard members are involved. He says the agency has other resources available, including helicopters on standby if needed.

Kirschenbaum says five of the vehicles will be used to help evacuate people from a neighborhood that’s been cut off by flooding in the town of Lockwood east of Reno.

About 1,300 residents have been evacuated from about 400 homes in a Reno neighborhood near the Truckee River.

Flooding in the city Sparks next to Reno was expected to send several feet of water early Monday into an industrial area where 25,000 people work.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has declared a state of emergency in flooded areas and told non-essential state employees to stay home from work.

Unfortunately, a winter storm advisory remained in effect for the region through Thursday.

The National Weather Service said the weekend rains from the warm weekend storm would give way to a much colder storm on Monday.

Snow accumulations of 4-8 feet were predicted at the 7,000-foot level while 2-5 feet could fall at lake level around Lake Tahoe by Thursday.

Winds and drifting snow will also present a challenge with gusts of 25 mph expected at the lower elevations and 100 mph winds along the Sierra ridge.

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