Blizzard conditions in Northern California shuts down roads, ski resorts

"Road Closed" sign during atmospheric river winter storm event in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Blizzard conditions have continued to slam the Northern California region throughout the weekend with damaging winds and heavy snow, shutting down roads and ski resorts across the area.  Around 6.5 million people were under winter weather alerts across the Mountain West, with blizzard warnings still in effect for the Sierra Nevada, who have experienced the most extreme weather including whiteout conditions and hurricane-force winds.

The blizzard closed a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 near the Nevada state line for more than a day, with the Weather Center adding that “extremely heavy snowfall rates of 2-6 inches an hour combined with very strong winds exceeding 100 mph at times will maintain impossible travel conditions in the Sierra Nevada” and warned of “high to extreme” avalanche danger in the Central Sierra and Greater Lake Tahoe area. About 5-12 feet of snow was forecast to fall along the crest of the Sierra with damaging wind gusts “possibly in excess of 75 mph” expected across the Intermountain West.

Numerous ski areas were closed over the weekend including at Palisades Tahoe, Sierra at Tahoe and Mammoth. The National Weather Service said on Sunday that “winds will wane in intensity, though some additional heavy snowfall is expected through the day, particularly for the southern Cascades/Sierra, Wasatch, and central Rockies.”  Extreme snowfall and roaring winds in the Sierra and parts of the northern ranges mean blowing snow and whiteout conditions making travel “impossible.”

While the storm was expected to wind down on Sunday, it will be followed by a new system on Monday, the National Weather Service said.

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