Storm pounds Sierra, western Nevada, with heavy snow
A potent winter storm that barreled into the Sierra Nevada overnight spilled into western Nevada before dawn Tuesday, creating slick driving conditions for morning commuters and prompting an avalanche advisory on the north end of Lake Tahoe.
Chains or snow tires were required across the region, including a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and Highway 50 over Echo Summit. Conditions early in the day were not much better in the valleys around Reno and Carson City, where travel restrictions also were in effect.
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen said authorities responded to several accidents and numerous spin outs, but no serious incidents.
By midday, most main streets and highways in the Reno area were clear but wet. Snow accumulations ranged from an inch or two near downtown to up to 8 inches along the foothills and farther south.
Ski resorts around Lake Tahoe reported up to 18 inches of snow overnight and heavy snow continued throughout the day. The National Weather Service said higher elevations could see more than 2 feet of snow before the storm moved out today.
Schools in the Truckee-Tahoe area were closed, and a winter-storm warning for Lake Tahoe region was extended until early evening.
An avalanche advisory was issued at North Lake Tahoe through this morning for the Crystal Bay subdivision and the Third Creek area.
Officials for the Washoe County Emergency Management Program said the advisory was issued to alert residents to possible avalanche conditions.
They said if an avalanche warning is issued, there will be an Emergency Alert System (EAS) activation and door-to-door notification.
Along the Reno-Gardnerville corridor, the winter storm warning was extended until 4 p.m., as snow showers persisted off and on into the afternoon.
Officials at Reno-Tahoe International Airport said operations there were on schedule.
But passengers were urged to check with their airline for any possible delays.
The storm is the latest in a series that has dumped more than 11 feet of snow in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada since March 1.
The weather service said the area will get a break today and Thursday before another storm is expected to come in Friday.