Snowfall has paused after an intense winter storm that dumped feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains and surrounding foothills earlier this week, but more is coming this weekend, with tens of thousands still lacking power as of Thursday morning in Northern California.
Mammoth snow totals fell in the greater Lake Tahoe area between Monday and Wednesday, a period during which the National Weather Service issued a rare blizzard warning for the central Sierra.
In those three days, between 5 and 8 feet of snow was recorded in parts of the mountains, including 92 inches at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort, according to the weather service.
The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab, located near Donner Pass, measured 87 inches from Monday through Wednesday and nearly 12 feet of snow for the week ending Wednesday morning; 35 inches were recorded Tuesday.
More than 2 feet of snow fell in parts of the foothills, including 26 inches in the Grass Valley area.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. as of 9 a.m. Thursday reported more than 60,000 homes and businesses in outages, many of which began Tuesday or earlier.
That total included more than 10,000 customers in Nevada County, over 9,000 in El Dorado County and more than 3,000 in Placer County, according to PG&E’s outage map.
I-80 and Highway 50 back open to passenger vehicles
Interstate 80, which had been closed in both directions from Monday through Wednesday morning, reopened to passenger vehicles in the westbound direction Wednesday afternoon and to eastbound passenger traffic Thursday morning.
Big rigs were still being held at the Nevada state line and at Applegate, Caltrans said just before 7:30 a.m.
Highway 50, which was closed and reopened for snow removal and avalanche control work numerous times from Monday through Wednesday, was open in both directions as of Thursday morning.
The recent storm pummeled Southern California, particularly the San Bernardino Mountains, where the Newsom administration said state emergency officials, Caltrans, Cal Fire and the California National Guard will assist in emergency operations and snow plowing.
What’s in California’s forecast this weekend?
More heavy snow is en route this weekend, along with blustery winds. After a respite Thursday and Friday, the weather service anticipates between 1 to 5 feet of snow falling at Sierra elevations above 2,500 feet between Saturday morning and Monday morning, with anywhere from 4 to 18 inches possible at elevations above 1,000 feet.
Gusts up to 60 mph are expected at high elevations, forecasts show.
In Sacramento, rain will likely return late Saturday morning and continue through at least Monday. Gusts could kick up to about 30 mph Saturday, with high temperatures in the low 50s dipping at night to the upper 30s or low 40s.
During this week’s earlier storm, the weather service said 1.24 inches of rain fell from Monday through Wednesday at Sacramento Executive Airport.
️ ANOTHER WINTER STORM will bring heavy mountain/foothill snow this weekend-early next week that could bring very difficult to impossible travel conditions #CAwx
The break in wet weather today-Friday is a good opportunity to stock up/prepare for the next storm if you are able! pic.twitter.com/MYkIKEphPo
Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.