All roads in and out of Yosemite National Park were closed Tuesday due to heavy snow and fallen trees, following four days of winter storms that blanketed the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Some ski resorts near Lake Tahoe received 7 feet or more between Friday and Tuesday morning.
“We’ve had incidents throughout the park,” said Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman. “We’ve had trees come down. We’ve had vehicles slide off the road. Power is out at Wawona.”
Gediman said all hotel reservations for Tuesday evening have been cancelled. The park’s ski area at Badger Pass also was closed Tuesday.
Yosemite road and forestry crews are working to clear trees and deep snow from roads, he said, adding that the park hopes to have at least one road open by the end of the day. The public can call (209) 372-0200 and then press 1, 1 to check road status anytime.
To the north, the Lake Tahoe area was smothered with huge amounts of new snow over the past four days, with another 1 to 3 feet forecast for this upcoming weekend.
A winter storm warning for much of the Sierra Nevada remained in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Although crews opened Interstate 80 over Donner Pass by 10 a.m. Tuesday, other roads through the mountains were remained closed. Chain controls remain in effect on nearly every mountain highway in the Sierra, including 80 and 50.
Despite the headaches on roadways, the snow has been doing wonders for California’s water supply.
The statewide Sierra Nevada snow pack, the source of one-third of California’s water supply for farms and cities, climbed to 125 percent of its historical average for this date on Tuesday, up from 69 percent on Jan. 1.
“It’s absolutely amazing. I haven’t seen a snow storm like this in over a decade,” said Tahoe resident Kevin Cooper, who hosts outdoor shows on Tahoe TV and Outdoor TV. “It’s light, it’s dry. It’s almost the perfect storm.”
Kirkwood ski area received 88 inches of snow since Friday. Mammoth Mountain, 79 inches and Squaw Valley 77 inches.
Between 2 and 4 feet fell at lake level around Lake Tahoe since Friday, Cooper said. Residents are shoveling snow off their roofs. Fire hydrants are buried. And some ski resorts briefly closed because the roads to them were blocked and crews also needed to dig out ski lifts and set off charges in the back country to reduce avalanche risk.
Kirkwood remained closed Tuesday morning, having been closed Monday, but was expected to be open late Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of snow, but for people who are skiers this is what we live for,” said Kirkwood spokesman Zach Sos.
24 hour and storm totals, since Friday in the Sierra. Snow will end later today. Dress for very cold temperatures if you heading out today. pic.twitter.com/YSUcR3oJxb
— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) February 5, 2019
The sun peeked out after 20” of new snow overnight!
Round 2 is rolling in, bringing more snow for our 75” storm total.
— SkiHeavenly (@skiheavenly) February 5, 2019
Holy freakin’ snow! 9″ overnight brings the storm to 7.5 FEET. pic.twitter.com/KaG7NBgsO1
— Sierra-at-Tahoe (@Sierra_at_Tahoe) February 5, 2019
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