NDOT says they met the challenge of the season’s first big storm
Winter’s first big storm may have taken a lot of residents by surprise, but not the Department of Transportation.
“We knew this was going to be the first big storm of the year and we were prepared,” said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder.
He said snow blowers and plows hit the road in force Thursday, as many as 40 pieces of equipment and 100 crew members.
“We had a full team out there,” he said.
As a result, he said District Engineer Thor Dyson reports they were able to keep all roads open through the night including the Tahoe Basin, Mount Rose Highway and Spooner Summit.
He said no avalanches and no closures were reported.
Magruder said most of those drivers are veterans who know the roads well.
“These guys take pride in what they do,” he said.
The Nevada Highway Patrol was also busy Thursday night into Friday.
According to spokesman Trooper Chuck Allen, Nevada Highway Patrol’s northern command reported 46 accidents between midnight and 2 p.m. Friday. He said there were 62 motorist assists and 21 “slide outs” – situations where the motorist lost control and spun out or slid off the roadway. Many of the slide outs occurred on the Mount Rose Highway, according to Allen.
Chains or snow tires were required throughout the day on all mountain passes, including Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, Highway 50 over Echo Summit, Highway 88, the Mount Rose Highway southwest of Reno.
By midday, most of the snow on roads in the Reno-Carson City area had melted, but the wet pavement was a concern during the evening commute.
“When the temperature drops, it’ll turn to ice,” Allen said.
Officials were reporting ice on Highway 395 between Carson City and Minden at 7:45 p.m.
A vehicle had slid into a ditch that was filled with water. No injuries were reported, but the responding officer said he was sliding all over the roadway despite four-wheel drive.
Magruder said Friday afternoon the plow and snow blower crews still were working in 12-hour shifts and would continue until the weather clears.
He said if the snow continues to come, “we’re prepared for that too.”
Snow totals around Carson City varied from about 2 inches in town to about 8 inches in Virginia City with Dayton reporting 1 inch and Minden 1.5 inches.
With more snow in the forecast for today, Magruder asked motorists to slow down and watch for plows.
Allen too said drivers must pay attention. He said that means don’t use the cell phone or eat while driving in bad weather – and wear seat belts.
Better yet, said Allen, if you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home until the weather improves.
He said up-to-date road and weather reports are available by dialing 511 or logging on to http://www.nevadadot.com and clicking on the 511 link.
The snow also closed schools in Storey County and in several districts around Lake Tahoe, but Carson City and Lyon County schools remained open. Washoe County and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District began late and schools in Incline Village were closed.
To the delight of skiers and snowboards, the storm dumped about 2 feet of snow in the higher elevations around Lake Tahoe, just in time for the upcoming holiday season. Until now, ski resorts have had to rely on manmade snow to cover the slopes.
“We are excited that the snow is falling,” said Savannah Cowley, spokeswoman at Squaw Valley USA. “This is what we really needed to get the season going.”
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Here’s a snow report for Lake Tahoe resorts. It’s recommended that you call for current conditions and hours before planning a trip.
Alpine Meadows: 12 to 14 inches new snow, 20-inch base; 800-441-4434
Boreal: 30 inches new snow, 40-inch base; 530-426-3666
Diamond Peak: 24 inches new snow, 24-inch base; 775-831-3211
Heavenly: 14 inches new, 16-20-inch base; 775-586-7000
Homewood: 8 inches new snow; 530-525-2900
Kirkwood: 12 to 14 inches new snow, 11- to 21-inch base; 209-258-3000
Mt. Rose: 16 to 20 inches new snow (Thursday), 10-to 18-inch base; 775-849-0704
Northstar-at-Tahoe: 17 inches new snow, 12-to 20-inch base; 530-562-1330
Sierra-at-Tahoe: 12 inches new snow, 14-inch base; 888-4MTNFUN
Squaw Valley: 20 inches, 16-24-inch base; 800-545-4350
Sugar Bowl: 24 to 30 inches new snow, 24- to 30-inch base; 530-426-1111.
For your information
Incidents reported by NHP
From midnight until around 2 p.m. Friday, troopers responded to the following calls:
• Motorist Assists: 62
• Slide offs (motorists that lost control and spun out): 21
• Accidents: 46
Most of these calls were in the Reno-Sparks-Carson City area.
Some safety tips
• Travel slower when the roads are wet, snow covered or icy
• Limit distractions such as cell phones and eating and keep both hands on the steering wheel
• Buckle up
• Be sure to remove all snow and ice from the windshield, side windows, rear window, rear lights and license plate
• Be sure your fuel tank is at least 1Ú4 full at all times
• Call 511 or log onto nevadadot.com and click on the 511 icon for up-to-date road and weather conditions
• Be aware that tow truck requests can average up to 90 minutes due to the high volume of calls during inclement weather
• If you don’t have to drive anywhere, stay home or defer your travel plans when the weather and roads improve
Prepare a disaster supplies kit for your vehicle: (all of the above plus)
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Jumper cables
• Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
• Compass and road maps
• Tire repair kit and pump
Prepare a disaster supplies kit for home:
• Three-day supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene).
• Three-day supply of non perishable, high-energy food and a manual can opener.
• First-aid kit and essential medications.
• Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio.
• Flashlight and extra batteries.
• Extra warm clothing, including boots, mittens and a hat.
• Copies of important documents (birth certificate, title/deed to home, insurance policies, etc.) in a water-proof container.
– Recommendations from the American Red Cross