SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Traffic flowed smoothly Saturday morning on a Sierra Nevada highway that was closed for hours by storms that dumped up to 13 inches of snow but forecasters warned more wild weather could hit in the afternoon.
On Friday, lightning and winds gusting to 35 mph hit areas around Sacramento and hail “the size of dimes” was reported a few miles from the unincorporated community of Sheridan, said Travis Wilson, a meteorologist with the weather service in Sacramento.
Weather concerns prompted officials to cancel a Friday evening concert at a plaza in downtown Sacramento.
In Fairfield, winds drove a grass fire that quickly spread to three homes and prompted authorities to evacuate another 10 homes, police Sgt. Matt Bloesch said.
Gusty winds also delayed some arriving flights by up to 90 minutes at San Francisco International Airport.
No serious damage or injuries were reported but Interstate 80 in the northern Sierra Nevada was backed up for hours as crews plowed as much as a foot of snow and dealt with dozens of spinouts and minor crashes.
By Saturday morning, there were only a few lingering showers in the region, and the road below 7,000-foot Donner Summit was clear and plowed.
However, forecasts called for the chance of more scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon thanks to unstable air as rising, sun-warmed currents hit a trough of cooler air.
“We are looking at another day of showers and thunderstorms,” said Brooke Bingaman, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
San Francisco could get a fraction of an inch of rain, but the Sierra Nevada near Interstate 80 could see several more inches of snow from small storms “popping up here and there,” she said.
“Even if they’re kind of quick-moving, sometimes they can really dump all of a sudden,” Bingaman said.
For drivers in mountain passes, Bingaman had a word of warning.
“Some people (Friday) were traveling over the passes just wearing shorts,” she said. “We’re trying to get the word out that even in springtime, there’s a possibility of snow, so make sure you’re prepared.”
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