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More snow expected for Sierra Nevada; rain also likely.

Photo-The Hamilton Spectator

As the powerful blizzard in the Sierra Nevada mountains begins to subside on Sunday, residents are advised to keep their shovels handy as more heavy snowfall is expected in the region. According to the National Weather Service, while conditions are expected to improve as winds weaken, precipitation is anticipated to return swiftly, with heavy snowfall forecasted for certain areas and rainfall expected in others.

Meteorologist Justin Collins from the National Weather Service in Reno stated that although some showers may persist, particularly in the Sierra, they are likely to taper off overnight, marking the conclusion of the storm. However, Collins cautioned that additional waves of precipitation are anticipated early in the coming week, indicating that the region may not be out of the woods just yet.

The recent multiday storm, described by meteorologists as "as bad as it gets," wreaked havoc across the region, resulting in the closure of major freeways, shutdowns of ski resorts, and widespread power outages affecting thousands of homes and businesses. Despite restoration efforts, several thousand customers remain without power as of Sunday morning, and ski areas are preparing to reopen with adjusted schedules and limited operations.

Sierra at Tahoe and Palisades Tahoe, among other resorts, were forced to close due to heavy snowfall, strong winds, and poor visibility. Officials from Palisades Tahoe reported receiving approximately 5 feet of snow on the upper mountain, while some ski areas reported nearly 7 feet of snow accumulation. The excessive snowfall, coupled with strong winds, has prompted concerns of life-threatening conditions, particularly for residents near Lake Tahoe, and has led to the blockage of travel routes.

Meteorologist William Churchill emphasized the severity of the storm, labeling it an "extreme blizzard" for the Sierra Nevada region. While records may not be broken, Churchill noted that the storm's impact in terms of snowfall totals and wind intensity is unprecedented.

The blizzard, which began on Thursday, prompted a blizzard warning covering a 300-mile stretch of the mountains, with additional snowfall expected from a secondary storm forecasted for early next week. Despite the challenges posed by the inclement weather, businesses such as the Alibi Ale Works brewpub in Lake Tahoe remained open, albeit with reduced operations due to power outages and hazardous conditions.

Authorities were forced to close a significant portion of Interstate 80, a key transportation route between Reno and Sacramento, due to hazardous driving conditions caused by the storm. As snowplow drivers work tirelessly to clear roads and restore normalcy, residents and travelers are urged to exercise caution and remain vigilant in the face of ongoing weather challenges posed by the relentless winter storms in the Sierra Nevada region.

March 4, 2024 1:19 p.m. 9527

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