'Too dangerous:' Powerful Tahoe snow storm postpones Sierra getaways
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - A strong winter storm in Tahoe, is prompting many from the Bay Area to postpone planned holiday getaways to the Sierra.
"It’s too dangerous right now," said Nancy Lim of Oakland, in line for the rental shop at Sport's Basement in Oakland on Sunday.
Caltrans shut down a nearly 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80, from Colfax, through Tahoe, all the way to the Nevada state line on Sunday after whiteout snow conditions made the roadway nearly impassible.
Frank Wong, another customer in line at the ski shop on Sunday, also decided to push back a planned ski trip with his son.
"I’m more worried about other drivers. Even if they have the roads open right now," said Wong.
Sections of Interstate 395 were also shut down in both directions on Sunday. Truckee Fire Protection crews responded to two separate pileups, one involving around 20 cars. Six people were taken to the hospital.
MORE: Major storm dumps snow, closes mountain routes in California
Meanwhile, on Highway 50 a Nevada State Trooper helping a stranded driver, was rear ended. The trooper was uninjured, but the driver was taken to the hospital.
"This is probably the most snow that I’ve seen in a single system in quite some time, we’re talking over a decade," said Tahoe ski expert Kevin "Coop" Cooper.
The record for the snowiest December in the Sierra, was set back in 1970 at nearly 15 feet, according to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.
"We are about 24 inches short of that as of this morning's 8 a.m. measurement," said Andrew Schwartz, station manager at the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.
The heavy snow overwhelmed a number of Tahoe area ski resorts on Sunday.
High winds and avalanche dangers forced Tahoe Palisades ski resort to close down for the day. Heavenly mountain also shut down the Nevada side of its resort on Sunday.
"We have to just let the mountain operations do their due diligence, dig out chairlifts, dig out the base lodges. Do all the safety they need to," said Cooper.
Heavenly Mountain warned skiers and riders about the likelihood of more operational challenges on Monday.