Heavy rain, wind, snow blows through California to the Sierra

A winter storm with strong winds, heavy rain and possibly several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada crippled mountain highways, downed trees and triggered flood watches and avalanche warnings from the coast of Northern California to Lake Tahoe on Saturday.

More than 250 miles of the Sierra remained under a winter storm warning through at least Sunday night or early Monday, from north of Reno to south of Yosemite National Park.

Up to 4 feet of snow is expected to fall in the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe and up to 6 feet in more remote parts of the Sierra north and south by the end of the weekend.

A 70-mile eastbound section of U.S. Interstate 80 was closed “due to zero visibility” from Colfax, California, to the Nevada state line, traffic officials said. Chains were required on much of the remaining I-80 in the mountains from Reno to Sacramento.

A section of California Highway 89 was closed due to heavy snowfall between Tahoe City and South Lake Tahoe, California, highway patrol officials said.

Snow conditions on California Interstate 5 Sims Road in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, near Castella, California on December 10, 2022.
The US Forest Service issued an avalanche warning for the backcountry in the mountains west of Lake Tahoe.
AP

The US Forest Service issued an avalanche warning for the backcountry mountains west of Lake Tahoe, saying “several feet of fresh snow and strong winds will create dangerous avalanche conditions.”

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph that sent trees into homes in Sonoma County Saturday could reach 62 mph over Sierra Ridgetops by early Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

Heavy rain was forecast for the weekend from San Francisco to the Sierra ridge, with up to 2 inches in the Bay Area and up to 5 inches in the Grass Valley northeast of Sacramento.

Two trucks make their way through snowy conditions along Interstate 80 near Donner Summit, California on December 1, 2022.
A 70-mile stretch of eastbound US Interstate 80 has been closed “due to zero visibility.”
AP

The Weather Service issued a flash flood warning Saturday as inches of rain fell on burn scars left by wildfires south of Monterey and further south of Big Sur.

More than 30,000 customers were without power in the Sacramento area at one point Saturday morning, but power was restored to all but a few hundred late in the day. The drivers and passengers of five cars trapped between downed power lines escaped unharmed, the Sacramento Bee reported.

San Francisco Bay Area officials reported power outages and downed trees, some damaging cars and homes. In Monte Rio, a small town on the Russian River in Sonoma County, firefighters responded to multiple reports of downed trees slamming into homes in 50 mph wind gusts.

Traffic moves slowly through snowy conditions along Interstate 80 near Truckee, California on December 1, 2022.
Up to four feet of snow is expected to fall in the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe by the end of the weekend.
AP

Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman told KRON-TV that four different fallen trees had damaged homes in the area and that no injuries had been reported.

“This is our first major storm, we’ve had several years of drought and all these trees have been dry. Now they’re filling up with water and starting to tip over,” Baxman told the TV network.

In the Sierra, about 10 inches of snow had already fallen Saturday afternoon at the Mammoth Mountain ski area south of Yosemite, where more than 10 feet of snow had been recorded since early November.

“It seems like there’s another big storm coming in every week or so,” said resort spokeswoman Lauren Burke.

Up to 18 to 28 inches of snow has been forecast for the weekend at sea level and up to 4 feet at altitudes over 7,000 feet with winds of 80 mph and gusts of up to 100 mph.

A winter weather report is running on the east slope of the Sierra for Reno, Sparks and Carson City from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday with snow accumulations ranging from 1 to 3 inches on valley floors and up to 8 inches above 5,000 feet.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/10/heavy-rain-wind-snow-blows-through-california-into-sierra/ Heavy rain, wind, snow blows through California to the Sierra

JACLYN DIAZ

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