California storm dumps about 2 feet of snow in Sierras

A storm that brought two feet of snow to parts of the northern Sierra Nevada and sparked a tornado moved Friday to Southern California, where it was expected to bring high winds.

The storm system dumped more than 20 inches of snow on parts the northern Sierra between Thursday and Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The snowfall created whiteout conditions that briefly closed a major route to Lake Tahoe, but was a boon to skiers at Tahoe resorts, which have been getting steady snowfall for the past week or so.

"It's a day and night difference from a year ago," said Kevin Cooper, spokesman for the Kirkwood and Heavenly resorts. "I cannot remember a Christmas Day like I just had this morning."

The precipitation was also a boon for the state's reservoirs. Folsom Lake added nearly 18 billion gallons on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reported, citing state figures ( ). The sharp increase would likely mean cities could draw drinking water from the lake without difficulty, the newspaper said.

Elsewhere in Northern California, the storm sparked a tornado that damaged the roofs of numerous homes and at least one business and downed trees, National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Shoemaker said.

The tornado traveled several miles through Eldorado County Thursday afternoon with winds of 80 to 90 miles an hour. There were no reports of injuries. It affected the communities of El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park, which lie about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Thompson in Oxnard said the system was moving into Southern California, where strong winds were forecast starting Friday evening and into Saturday.

Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were forecast at higher elevations.