TRUCKEE (CBS SF) — A fierce winter storm, packing high winds and blinding snow showers, buried the Sierra under several feet of new snow Sunday, shutting down ski resorts and closing both Highway 50 and I-80.
A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Lake Tahoe area where both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts have been closed after receiving 3 feet of snow over the last 24 hours.READ MORE: UPDATE: Suspect In Cal Poly Student Kristin Smart's 1996 Disappearance, Paul Flores, Reportedly Arrested
The National Weather Service reported that over the last 24 hours Heavenly got 42 inches of new snow, Northstar got 37, Sierra at Tahoe received 30 and Tahoe City got 27 inches.
Caltrans District 3 tweeted that at the summit on I-80 there has been “60 inches (of new snow) in 24 hours!!!”
Caltrans announced that I-80 was open from the stateline at 5:19 p.m., except for big rigs.READ MORE: Update: Bay Area Counties Pausing Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Shots; State Continuing With Plans To Reopen On June 15
The wind was also playing a major role in creating hazardous conditions. The National Weather Service said winds were gusting as high as 55 mph with ridge winds gusting to a hurricane force 110 mph.
“While accumulating snow has caused issues, it has been the whiteout conditions that have had the largest impact,” the weather service said. “Winds continue to whip up dry snow… the Sierra continues to pile on snow measured in feet with large drifts and travel is nearly impossible considering road closures due to whiteout conditions.”
The Sierra Avalanche Center has issued a considerable to high warning for snow slides in the Lake Tahoe Area. The warning remains in effect until 7 a.m. Monday.MORE NEWS: State Attorney General Will Oversee Sexual Assault Investigation Of Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli
“Very dangerous avalanche conditions may occur. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended during HIGH avalanche danger,” the center warned. “Large destructive avalanches could occur.”