On Saturday, a winter storm battered the west U.S.A. with heavy snow and rain in the Sierra Nevada. It caused flooding watches and avalanche warnings to be activated.
The storm brought strong winds and toppled trees from the coast of Northern California up to Lake Tahoe. It was predicted to bring up to 4 feet of snow to Lake Tahoe’s upper elevations, and up to 6 feet to remote parts of the Sierra to its north and south.
The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Saturday night that it was seeing 4 to 5 inches per hour of snow, which it claimed was the highest of the day.
The Sierra was under winter storm alert for 250 miles, at least through Sunday night or Monday morning from north Reno to south Yosemite National Park.
The National Weather Service warned that the system could become a possible snowstorm across the Northern Plains this coming week.
Officials from transportation said that a 70-mile stretch of eastbound U.S. Interstate 80 was shut down “due to zero visibility” between Colfax, California and the Nevada state border. Chains were needed on much of I-80’s remaining section in the mountains between Reno and Sacramento.
California Highway 89 was also closed due to heavy snowfall between Tahoe City, California and South Lake Tahoe.
The U.S. Forest Service issued a avalanche alert for the backcountry west of Lake Tahoe. It stated that “several foot of new snow and strong wind will lead to dangerous avalanche situations.”
According to the National Weather Service, gusts of wind that sent trees into Sonoma County homes on Saturday could now reach 100 mph over Sierra Ridgetops by Sunday morning.
Through the weekend, heavy rain was expected in San Francisco and the Sierra crest. There were up to 2 inches of rain in the Bay Area, and 5 inches in the Grass Valley northeastern of Sacramento.
This report was contributed by the Associated Press.