California mountain regions brace for huge snowstorm

Connie Queline

California mountain regions brace for huge snowstorm

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Several ski resorts closed their doors across California on Friday, as the state prepared for a massive snowstorm forecast to hit the Sierra Nevada region over the weekend.

Californian officials closed off roads as the state, and neighbouring Nevada, braced for up to 10 feet (3 metres) of snow.

Wind gusts could also top 140 mph (225 kmh) in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

About two feet of snow has already fallen in the area.

The most extreme weather – including heavy snow and fierce winds – is expected at the highest elevations in the mountain region.

The storm made its way to the region on Thursday and is expected to strengthen after midnight on Friday. Snow could fall at a rate of three to five inches (7.6 cm to 12.7 cm) an hour on Friday and Saturday.

The Weather Prediction Center warned the storm would bring a “high chance of substantial, long-lasting disruptions to daily life in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Friday through Saturday”.

The weather service added that travel conditions would range from “extremely dangerous to impossible” in the Sierra Nevada region. Avalanches are possible too, it said.

As a result, officials shut down large stretches of I-80, a highway in the Sierra Nevada.

Yosemite National Park closed for the weekend and over a dozen ski resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe also halted operations.

Though there have been no reports so far of serious injuries, Californian officials told US media they have responded to incidents of car collisions, as well as vehicles sliding off the road or getting stuck along I-80.

Strong and dangerous wind gusts are also expected in parts of Utah and Arizona.

The storm comes after a slow start to the snow season in the region. The snowpack in the mountains typically provides a substantial portion of California’s water supply.

Conditions are expected to improve on Monday, though the area could see even more snow in the middle of next week.

Related Topics

  • Nevada
  • California

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