SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS SF) — Heavy snow continued to fall across the Lake Tahoe region Thursday, dumping more than a foot at the Sierra ski resorts and triggering hazardous driving conditions and an avalanche warning.
Authorities said the snow has a high water content, creating what locals call “Sierra Cement”. The accumulation of as much as 20 inches of the heavy wet snow was enough to make a Cessna Citation X business jet do a tail stand at its outdoor parking spot at Truckee Tahoe Airport on Wednesday.
Truckee Tahoe Airport official Marc Lamb said the jet was not damaged and returned to normal once the snow was removed.
A blizzard warning from the National Weather Service expired Thursday morning, but a winter storm warning remained in place through Friday. Forecasters predicted the storm would drop between 3-to-6 feet above 7000 feet before it moves on.
While white-out blizzard conditions no longer exist, driving remained a challenge. Trucks were not being allowed to travel over the summit on Highway 80 with chain controls in place for other vehicles. Likewise on Highway 50.
“Avoid travel if possible, you could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours,” the weather service said.
Forecasters warned travelers that the storm would confront them with treacherous conditions.
“This is a life threatening situation, especially in the higher elevations,” the weather service warned. “Road crews and first responders may not be able to
Officials at Sierra-at-Tahoe said they had received 22 inches of snow over the last 24 hours with more on the way. The story was the same for Squaw Valley where 16 inches fell overnight and 23 inches in the last 24 hours and Heavenly where a foot of new snow had fallen.
The weather service said heavy snow would continue to fall across the northern Sierra for about another 24 hours with lowering snow levels. Accumulations of 12-18 inches were expected at the lower levels with an additional 2-3 feet across the northern Sierra passes.