Snow likely to set records

Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal Nolan Shine, 7, of Carson City, digs a snow tunnel in his front yard during a break in the snowstorm on Saturday.

Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal Nolan Shine, 7, of Carson City, digs a snow tunnel in his front yard during a break in the snowstorm on Saturday.

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Despite the nearly two feet of snow Carson City woke up to Saturday, the city was fairly quiet, according to the sheriff.

"Everyone's been really cooperative. It's been a great day," Sheriff Ken Furlong said.

The valley was blanketed, buried and bombarded by two huge winter storms that passed through the Sierra, pausing long enough to dump zillions of snowflakes throughout the day, bogging down motorists and paralyzing pedestrians almost up to their knees.

"It is unusual," said Meteorologist Chris Shulz. "We've had winters with heavier snow falls but I'm sure there'll be some records set here. Two huge systems within 10 days is very unusual."

Shulz said all the ingredients came together for both snowfilled storms with a cold strong low pressure system coming in from the north and meeting up with some moisture from the Pacific.

Winter storm warnings continue into Monday night across all the Sierra and most of Northern Nevada, where as much as 5 feet of new snow was expected at higher elevations.

Carson City measured in at 18 inches, with 20 inches reported in some areas. Silver Springs got a paltry 3 inches, Dayton weighed in at 10 inches, Shulz said.

David Hollenbach of Gardnerville watches storms for the National Weather Service. In between shoveling his driveway at least three times, he measured the snow there to be at 13 inches.

"It's pretty nice, but I'm not into the shoveling the driveway thing," the Bay area transplant said.

Poor visibility was blamed for the shutdown of Interstate 80 over Donner Summit for a 13-hour period ending Saturday morning.

The interstate that links Sacramento, Calif., to the Reno-Tahoe area reopened with mandatory chain controls.

But two other major Sierra highways - U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Highway 88 over Carson Pass - remained closed Saturday. Chains or snow tires were required on nearly every other highway in the Sierra and Northern Nevada.

Washoe County, Sparks and Reno governments - still digging out from a Dec. 30 storm that left up to 4 feet of snow in some areas - each declared a state of emergency on Friday. Government offices were shut down and workers sent home.

Today should bring periods of heavy snow until around midnight and tapering to intermittent, light snow showers. By Monday afternoon the final, stronger wave of the storm is expected bringing an additional 5 to 10 inches to the valley.

"By Tuesday morning, this should all be moving east," Shulz said.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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