Officials issued avalanche warnings Wednesday as the biggest California storm of a dry winter season hammered the Sierra.
The Sierra Avalanche Center said high winds, intense snowfall and a weak snowpack combined to create dangerous conditions. It recommended that skiers stay out of avalanche terrain.
The storm has dropped visibility to a quarter-mile or less on Interstate 80, forcing Caltrans to require chains and impose a 30 mph speed limit from Colfax to 11 miles east of the Nevada state line.
The National Weather Service said the snow level had dropped to 3,000 feet in the northern Sierra Nevada. Snow fell at the rate of one inch each hour, and forecasters expected at least eight more inches into Thursday. Winds gusted to 50 mph.
Now's the time to be in Tahoe. Provided you're already there.
A massive winter storm is in the process of dumping up to five feet of snow on the Northern Sierra, according to the Associated Press and the forecasters at NBC Bay Area.
The photo to the right comes from Northstar ski resort outside Truckee. They said they have two feet of snow so far from this storm with more falling.
This brightens the state's water situation, which depends on healthy snow pack, but doesn't really help transportation issues much. Cars and trucks are chained up from Placer County to Nevada County -- or choosing not to move at all.
"After tonight, you probably don't want to travel in the Sierra until Thursday," National Weather Service forecaster George Cline told the AP on Tuesday.
Roads were not yet closed, according to a CHP dispatcher. Winds of up to 60 miles per hour could accompany a snowfall of four inches per hour, according to reports.
This could be the heaviest snowfall of the season thus far, according to reports. Here in the Bay Area, it will make its presence felt: up to an inch of rain could fall on the North Bay, according to the AP.
Things are also wintery white in Tahoe. The below photo was sent to us from Badger Pass.