Blizzard leaves thousands without power in California and Nevada

Thousands of residents were without power and life was brought to a standstill for many in the Sierra Nevada region on Saturday after a winter storm dumped two feet of snow overnight and created treacherous conditions.

About 49,000 customers were without power in Nevada and California on Saturday. According to to Ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area have suspended operations due to lack of whiteout on the mountains. Highway officials closed Interstate 80, the main artery that crosses the Sierra Nevada through Donner Summit, a major trucking route from the San Francisco Bay Area. Traffic cameras showed semi trucks parked along the highway waiting to be closed overnight.

California Highway Patrol said There is no estimated time for reopening the highway.

The Central Sierra Snow Observatory, a research station located on Donner Peak, reported 20.7 inches of snow as of Saturday morning, and 39.8 inches in the previous 48 hours. Palisades Tahoe, a resort that closed all terrain ski area operations on Saturday, recorded 24 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.

There was Yosemite National Park Closed At least until Sunday afternoon, park officials said.

Ed Miller, who lives in Tahoma on Lake Tahoe's west shore, said he lost power Friday around 10 p.m., and his generator kicked in minutes later. A resident of the Lake Tahoe area for nearly 50 years, Mr. He said having a generator is essential to living in the mountains, where winds can regularly knock down tree branches and take down power lines.

Forecasters have assessed avalanche risk on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the great mountain range that runs along the spine of California. HighThey expected avalanche risks to worsen throughout the day due to fresh snow and continued winds. Friday night, winds gusted to 171 miles per hour.

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Several avalanches were reported in the backcountry on Friday, according to public observations from the Sierra Avalanche Center. Website, including at least a partial burial — a skier was caught when the snow buried him up to his shoulders, but he was dug out about 10 minutes later. There were no injuries or fatalities.

Early in the morning in South Lake Tahoe, California, before snow plows reached residential streets, some local residents had to fend for themselves digging through the steady snow.

Autumn Worden, 28, plowed her four-wheel-drive Subaru into deep snow ruts. “I was out of my neighborhood and swinging,” said Ms. Worden, a barista at a coffee roastery in Stateline, Nev., east of South Lake Tahoe.

“I worked it out,” he said, noting there was about a foot of snow on the roads when he went out this morning.

Brian Allegretto, Tahoe-area forecaster for OpenSnow, called it a “strong storm.” “Usually we see a storm of this size once or twice a year.”

Mr. who woke up from 4:30 am on Saturday morning and collected the data. Allegretto said he believes snow totals will be lower than some of the national forecasts because the wind will cut the snowfall so much.

On Sunday, forecasters at the National Weather Service said heavy snow was possible in the morning, with total accumulations of three to nine inches. Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible

The storm disrupted plans for several events. A 26km cross-country ski race was cancelled. Organizers of the North Lake Tahoe Snowfest canceled the event's parade for the first time in its 42-year history. The Polar Bear Plunge in Lake Tahoe, a Snowfest tradition, has been postponed for a week.

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However, some residents were determined not to let the snow derail their plans. Brendan Madigan, owner of Alpenglo Sports, an outdoor gear store in Tahoe City, won't be closing his shop. “We're very proud to be open,” he said. “We feel like we've got tough customers — it's the mountains — and we have a responsibility to be here if people need us.”

Many recent customers at the store are making stormy purchases, Mr. Madigan said. With the ski area closed, “most people are doing retail therapy,” he said.

Although the Snowfest parade has been canceled, the parade's after-party, called Blizzardfest, has been moved to Sunday afternoon and will be held outside at a local brewpub. Katie Pickers, executive director of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, expects even better turnouts.

“Tahoe locals always show up,” he said. “They are all very rude.”

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