The Washington Post
Up to 12 feet of snow in 1 week, and more to come, in California
With as much as 12 feet of new snow over the past week, and seasonal totals surpassing 41 feet, California’s Sierra Nevada is buried.
So much snow has fallen that homes are engulfed and roads resemble canyons. More is on the way this weekend, with the National Weather Service office in Sacramento forecasting an additional three to four feet.
“Expect disruptions to daily life including dangerous/impossible driving conditions with road closures and whiteout conditions at times,” the agency tweeted. “MOUNTAIN TRAVEL IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED!
In the wake of the blizzard early this week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared a state of emergency in 13 counties affected by the winter storm, including several in the Sierra Nevada.
The excessive snowfall has presented myriad challenges:
● The combination of wind and snow caused about 100,000 customers to lose power earlier in the week. Thursday morning, there were more than 50,000 customers still without power in the region, according to Poweroutage.us.
● The snow’s heft led to at least one reported structure collapse.
● Yosemite National Park is closed indefinitely. The park reported up to 15 feet of snow on the ground.
● Major highways such as Interstate 80, including Donner Pass, and U.S. Route 50 were shut down and only recently reopened.
● Residents of some small mountain communities were stranded because of impassable roads.
● At least one avalanche was reported that forced evacuations.
As one data point, the Central Sierra Snow Lab received 87.2 inches of snow in 72 hours early this week, bringing its seasonal total to 531 inches, the most on record through February. The snowpack in the region is now above the full-season average.
Although disruptive, the snow is a blessing for the state’s water supply. According to the federal drought monitor published Thursday morning, the percentage of the state experiencing at least moderate drought conditions plummeted from 84.6 percent to 49.1 percent in the past week because of all the precipitation. Drought covered nearly the entire state on Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, skiers are in heaven. “I have to say I’ve been skiing here for 40 years — I’ve never seen conditions like this,” Gary Wayne told the Los Angeles Times.