Trucks – With up to 7 feet of fresh snow expected in the next 72 hours, California Highway Patrol and the National Weather Service warned travelers Monday to stay away from the Sierra.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a blizzard warning for large areas of the mountainous region, including around Lake Tahoe, through early Wednesday morning.
An avalanche warning has also been issued, and strong winds and rapid snow accumulation can create dangerous and deadly conditions.
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On Monday, US 395 from Lee Vining to Bridgeport was already closed due to several avalanches.
The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that “large-scale avalanches may occur in various areas.”
Dizzying blizzard conditions make mountain travel along US Highway 50 and Interstate 80 nearly impossible.
“If you are planning to travel through the Donor Summit in unsafe conditions over the next few days, expect unsafe travel conditions,” CHP Truckee posted on Facebook. “Expect long delays, high winds, zero visibility, road closures…Travel is not recommended.”
Winds over 60 mph turn the light, fluffy snow into massive drifts.
The Bureau of Meteorology said, “During periods of heavier snowfall, snowfall rates can exceed 2 to 3 inches per hour during these heavier accumulation periods. That is consistent with a 15:1 snow ratio.” .”
After years of drought, the Sierra has had too much snow this year. Many of the higher elevations already had 34 feet or more of snow since winter began.
At the UC Sierra Snow Lab near Donner Summit, researchers recorded over 36.9 feet of snow, just a stone’s throw from the 48 feet that fell during 2017’s epic snow year.
Cold air masses stalling over the mountains will bring subzero chills across the Sierras through Wednesday.
After two short days of rest, stormy weather set us back in the Sierras over the weekend.
“The quiet pattern won’t last long as another system is knocking on the door,” the forecaster said. This next wave could pass through the area as early as noon on Saturday. ”