bay area storm

Travel to Tahoe Not Advised as Major Storm System Arrives

Sunday night travel is expected to be "difficult to impossible," and travelers can expect that "lengthy travel delays are certain"

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A winter storm warning is in effect until 10 p.m. Tuesday in the Greater Lake Tahoe area as Sunday marks the start of a five-day storm series in the Sierra Nevada, according to the National Weather Service.

Significant snow accumulations of up to 8 feet in higher elevations is expected accompanied by strong winds of more than 100 mph along ridges with gusts to 50 mph in lower elevations.

Plenty of snow is covering the Sierra and areas along Highway 50 in Meyers just outside of South Lake Tahoe. Two ski resorts in the area opened for the season Saturday and one more opens Sunday. Caltrans is reminding travelers to be extra cautious if heading to the Sierra.

Sunday night travel is expected to be "difficult to impossible," and travelers can expect that "lengthy travel delays are certain."

An avalanche watch was also issued, with periods of high avalanche danger from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning between Yuba Pass (Highway 49) and Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4.) These conditions are the result of heavy snow loading on an already weak snowpack.

Rain will continue Monday with the highest rain totals expected near the Santa Cruz mountains down toward the Central Coast. Gusty winds will also start the day with peak speeds in the 30-45 mph range at times.

The Weather Service is advising motorists to avoid travel if possible and be prepared to be stranded for hours. Those who must travel are advised to carry an emergency kit with extra food, water and clothing.

Monday snowfall is predicted to be heavy continuing into Tuesday. Yuba Pass to Donner Summit could see 60 to 72 inches of snowfall by Tuesday night, with Tahoe receiving up to 96 inches at higher elevations.

Wednesday may bring a brief break in the weather with a quick moving system moving into the area on Thursday.

Call 511 for updates on the latest road conditions.

While travel may not be advised at the moment, ski resorts are ready to reopen as soon as this latest storm blows through.
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