TAHOE CITY (CBS SF) — A massive wall of snow slammed into a Sierra highway Sunday, burying two cars but fortunately the occupants of the vehicles were able to escape unharmed.
The California Highway Patrol said the slide — measuring 200 feet across and 12 feet high — crashed down on Highway 89 between Alpine Meadows and Tahoe City.
Meanwhile, heavy snow caused a roof to collapse Monday at a liquor store and forced the evacuation of neighboring businesses, including a South Lake Tahoe pet hospital.
South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Jeff Meston says the roof collapsed and broke a sprinkler pipe at a liquor store on Harrison Avenue at about 2:45 a.m. Monday.
No one was hurt. But Meston told the Lake Tahoe News there was a “ton of water on the street” when crews arrived. He says local utility workers had to dig through more than a foot of snow to find the main shut-off valve.
Animals at the nearby Sierra Veterinary Hospital have been evacuated while officials inspect the integrity of the neighboring businesses.
The Sierra Avalanche Center issued its highest level warning for the region Sunday saying “danger exists at all elevations and large, deep, destructive human triggered avalanches are very likely today.”
The center lowered the threat level to considerable on Monday morning.
Over the weekend, the Placer County Office Emergency Services asked residents of Alpine Meadows to voluntarily evacuate as several feet of new snow blankleted the region and winds reaching hurricane force on the Sierra Ridge cause drifting and instability on the slopes.
Travelers jounreying on the Sierra highways faced a miserable drive on Sunday as Highway 80 was closed several times to traffic because of the white-out conditions.
After years of drought, the Sierra has been buried under as much as 35 feet of snow as a series of winter storms have blanketed the region.
Sunday was no different as the latest wintry blast triggered slow going on all roads at the Summit, dumping as much as 3 feet of new snow at the higher elevations.
Days of snow has ski resort owners overjoyed after years of struggling to keep their runs open.
Jess VanPernis Weaver, spokesman for the Sugarbowl ski resort, said the storms have dumped 282 inches at the base an 442 at the higher elevations.
Over the last seven days, he said, more than six feet of snow had fallen.
The National Weather Service said after some snow flurries on Monday, the region was in for a break this coming week. A winter storm advisory for the Tahoe area expired early Monday.
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