Blizzard Conditions Ravage California and Nevada

Blizzard conditions have been wreaking havoc in Northern California and Nevada, causing damage and disrupting travel.


Extreme Weather Conditions Continue

Blizzard conditions have persisted in Northern California with damaging winds and heavy snowfall. The highest elevations in the mountains have experienced whiteout conditions and hurricane-force winds. Winter storm alerts and blizzard warnings are still in effect for the northern and central Sierra Nevada until Monday morning.

Gusts of 45-75 mph are possible, with peaks in the Sierra Nevada potentially reaching up to 90 mph. Although the heaviest snowfall is expected to subside, moderate snowfall may continue in parts of the Intermountain West until Tuesday, with the potential for additional snowfall approaching a foot.

Impacts of the Storm

The heavy snowfall has resulted in the closure of a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 near the Nevada state line for over a day, leaving stranded drivers. Some areas in the Sierra have seen over 7 feet of snow in a 72-hour period. Strong winds have also been recorded, with a wind gust of 145 mph reported at the Palisades Tahoe Ski Base.

Power outages have affected fewer than 8,600 homes and businesses in California. Ski fields and chairlifts, including those at Palisades Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and Mammoth, have remained closed. The unstable cold air mass caused by the storm will gradually subside, but more upper-level energies are expected to arrive, prolonging the wintry weather.

Travel Challenges and Road Closures

The severe winter conditions have made travel nearly impossible, with blowing snow and whiteout conditions. The main road to Mammoth Mountain ski resort, US 395, was closed for hours due to whiteout conditions. Many vehicles were stuck on the road, requiring rescue efforts.

Other roadways in the area are also closed or have chain control requirements. The California Highway Patrol has urged people to avoid travel and stay updated on road conditions. Snowslides have caused temporary closures, while crews have faced challenges in clearing the roads due to damaged equipment.