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California storm dumps snow in the Sierra

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Heavy snowfall fell in the Sierra Nevada as a winter storm packing powerful winds swayed chair lifts and shut down mountain highways while low-level downpours sparked winter vigils. flooding on Sunday across large swaths of California to Nevada.

More than 250 miles (400 km) of the Sierra, from north of Reno to south of Yosemite National Park, remained under a winter storm warning through Sunday night or Monday morning.

Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Ski Resort shut down some operations Saturday when the brunt of the storm hit. The station posted video of lift chairs rocking violently from gusts exceeding 100 mph (161 km/h), along with a reminder on Twitter that wind closures are “always for your safety”.

To the south, Mammoth Mountain reported more than 20 inches (51 cm) of snow fell Saturday, with another 2 feet (0.6 meters) possible Sunday as the tail of the system moves through the eastern Sierra .

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reported Sunday morning that more than 43 inches (110 cm) had fallen in 48 hours.

A 70-mile (112 km) stretch of eastbound U.S. Interstate 80 was closed Saturday “due to zero visibility” from the northern California city of Colfax to the line of Nevada state, transportation officials said. Chains were needed on much of the rest of I-80 in the mountains from Reno to Sacramento.

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

The U.S. Forest Service issued a backcountry avalanche warning in the mountains west of Lake Tahoe where it said “several feet of fresh snow and strong winds will bring dangerous avalanche conditions” .

A worker uses a snow blower in Truckee, California on December 4, 2022. Hale Irwin / Sipa USA via AP

Gusts of up to 80 km/h (50 mph) that sent trees into homes in Sonoma County north of San Francisco on Saturday could reach 160 km/h (100 mph) above the Sierra ridges on Sunday, a announced the National Weather Service.

Heavy rain was forecast throughout the weekend from San Francisco to the Sierra Ridge with up to 2 inches (5 cm) in the Bay Area and up to 5 inches (13 cm) in Grass Valley northeast of Sacramento.

Warnings and watches were also up in Southern California as heavy rains caused localized flooding in greater Los Angeles.

“Significant travel delays are possible with snow accumulation on several mountain roads. This could include Tejon Pass and the Grapevine area of ​​Interstate 5,” the National Weather Service said in a statement.

As the storm leaves California and Nevada, it will cross the country and reach the Plains by midweek, bringing heavy rainfall and below-average temperatures, said Marc Chenard, National Weather Service meteorologist at the National Weather Center. College Park, Maryland.

“It will be a busy week as this system moves across the country,” Chenard said Sunday.

nbcnews Gt

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