COLFAX, California. A violent Christmas storm over the weekend triggered a crisp white Wednesday and closed key highways due to snowstorms in the mountains of Northern California and Nevada, and forecasters warn that travel to the Sierra Nevada could be difficult for several days.
The 70-mile (112-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 80 was closed Sunday from Colfax, California, across the Lake Tahoe region to the Nevada State Line. The California Department of Transportation has also closed other mountain routes, warning drivers of poor visibility and slippery conditions.
“Expect serious delays on all roads,” the National Weather Service office in Reno, Nevada, said. Twitter… “Today is such a day to just stay home if you can. More snow coming soon! “
The Meteorological Service issued a winter storm warning for Lake Tahoe before 1 am Tuesday due to possible “widespread blind spots” and gusts of wind that can reach 45 miles per hour (72 km per hour).
Heavy rainfalls have closed more than 40 miles (64 km) of Coastal Highway 1 in the Big Sur area south of the San Francisco Bay Area. There has been no assessment of the reopening of the scenic site, which often closes after wet weather.
The latest in a series of violent storms hit Southern California, with torrential rain and wind flooding streets and collapsing power lines late Saturday. According to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, strong gusts of wind knocked down trees, damaged carports, and blew up Goleta High School’s track and field shed into a courtyard two blocks away. No injuries were reported.
More than 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) of rain fell in 24 hours at the San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County, while Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo County received 1.61 inches (4 centimeter).
Los Angeles International Airport reported that a “hurricane-related electricity problem” caused Terminal 5 to partially close, causing passengers to be transferred to other terminals after Christmas to receive certain services.
“There may be cancellations and delays, so it will be important to check the status of your flight today if you are flying through Terminal 5,” LAX tweeted.
In the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, brigades repaired a section of state road 18 that washed away the hillside after heavy rain late Thursday. The closure of the main route to the Big Bear ski area could take several weeks, officials said.
The ongoing storms have been welcomed in parched California, where snow cover in the Sierra has dropped to dangerously low levels after weeks of dry weather. But the State Department of Water Resources said on Christmas Eve that snow cover ranged from 114% to 137% of normal throughout the range, and more snow is expected.
From Friday evening to Saturday, 50 centimeters of snow fell at Homewood on the western shore of Lake Tahoe. About 30 centimeters (30 centimeters) were reported in the Northstar area near Truckee, California, and 10 inches (25 centimeters) at the Mount Rose ski resort on the southwestern outskirts of Reno.