A major snowstorm that blanketed much of the western United States over Christmas weekend made travel difficult, if not impossible, as several major freeways are closed in the mountains of northern California and Nevada.
More snow showers and the coldest temperatures in years are expected during the week.
On Monday morning, Pacific Time, all roads in the Sierra and US-395 north and south of Reno were closed. Interstate 80, SR-20 and SR-49 were all closed to the Nevada state border due to downed trees, power lines and heavy snowfall. The roads will likely remain closed until Monday, according to the State Department of Transportation; US-395 will remain closed between State Route 203 and State Route 182 due to heavy snowfall and poor visibility.
All highways entering and exiting the Tahoe Basin also remained closed Monday afternoon. State DOT crews continued to clear snow from the highways, but “the spectacle is still on the decline and shouldn’t subside until dark,” Caltrans said. The greater Lake Tahoe area saw heavy snow all day, with a snowfall of 6 to 12 inches. A winter storm warning remains in effect until 1 a.m. PT Tuesday.
“Traveling is next to impossible today” in the greater Lake Tahoe area, the National Weather Service said, warning that if you leave your home and try to travel, “you will be stuck in your vehicle for many hours.” Anyone who has to travel should “be prepared for long delays and pack an emergency kit with extra food, water and clothing.”
Air travel is also difficult, as flights from LAX have been canceled due to bad winter weather and staff shortages caused by an increase in coronavirus infections, the Los Angeles Times reported. At least 101 flights were canceled and 286 delayed at LAX on Monday, according to FlightAware.com.
Snow totals have broken records in some places. According to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab, the last day of snow contributed to the snowiest December in more than 50 years.
As of Monday morning, the lab had measured 193.7 inches of snow. “We broke the previous record of 179 ″ of snowfall in December, set in 1970!” The lab said, adding that with the continued heavy snowfall, “we may even break the 200 ″ mark today. hui! ” The snow was so thick that it took 40 minutes for workers to travel 50 meters from the front of the lab to the measurement area.
The National Weather Service has declared a winter storm warning through tonight in parts of northeastern California. The Sacramento NWS office has warned of significant travel delays during the holidays with “almost white conditions at times.” Three to 15 inches of snow is forecast through Monday, with up to 2 feet at higher elevations. [Copyright 2021 NPR]