SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A cold front bearing down on Northern California Friday had skiers scrambling to the Sierra where it was expected to dump several feet of new snow over the weekend.

Heavy traffic was reported on both Highway 80 and 50 as the exodus was on to arrive in the Lake Tahoe area while roadways were still clear and dry. There were no chain requirements, but forecasters said that would not be the case by early Saturday.

The National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Stateline and Incline Village starting Saturday morning and extending through 4 a.m. on Monday.

“Heavy snow coupled with strong south southwest winds expected,” the weather service warned. “Snowfall rates of 1-to-2 inches per hour will be likely with visibilities below one-half mile at times. A brief break develops Sunday afternoon, then moderate to heavy snow develops again for Sunday night into Monday morning.”

Forecasters said Truckee and Tahoe could receive as much as 18 inches of new snow while the higher elevations could get as much as 3 feet. Windy conditions also threatened to shut down ski lifts with gusts up to 50 mph.

A third front was expected to arrive on Tuesday and bring ever more snow to the area.

In the Bay Area, the storm fronts were expected to dump as much 3 inches of rain by the end of next week.

“Light rain will develop along the coast and in the coastal ranges generally after midnight and increase around sunrise Saturday as the frontal boundary pushes inland,” the weather service said. “Locally gusty winds will persist with lingering showers and continued potential for isolated thunderstorms. Showers will
then tapper off Saturday night before another system brings additional rainfall and gusty winds Sunday into Sunday night.”

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