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Major Winter Storm May Dump Over 10 Feet of Snow on Sierra Nevada

2 months ago
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A powerful winter storm is set to bury parts of the Sierra Nevada range under tremendous amounts of snow this week, likely causing major travel disruptions and raising the risk of life-threatening conditions.

Meteorologists expect over 6-10 feet of total accumulation in the highest elevations. The extreme snowfall rates combined with hurricane-force winds will create blinding blizzard conditions that may persist for days, isolating mountain communities.

A Storm to Go Down in History

This storm has the potential to rank among the most significant ever recorded in the region. The towering snow drifts and prolonged closures of vital transportation arteries could resemble those of past historical storms.

Preparations by residents and emergency management personnel will be crucial to preserve public safety through this dangerous event.

Hourly snowfall rates exceeding 4 inches will rapidly render roads impassable to snow removal efforts across major mountain passes. Interstate 80 at Donner Pass and segments of Interstate 5 in Northern California near the Oregon border will likely need to close due to zero visibility and avalanche danger.

The storm poses a high risk of stranding motorists attempting to traverse these vital transportation corridors.

The intense snow may require pass closures to remain in effect through the weekend until precipitation tapers off. Isolated mountain towns may lose road access for a week or more after the storm.

Backcountry residents should secure necessary supplies and backup heating sources ahead of power outages. Carbon monoxide poisoning poses an elevated risk if vents become blocked by drifting snow.

Those recreating in or near the Sierra Nevada should avoid travel this weekend. Winter storm watches and warnings will precede the hazardous conditions. But once the heavy snow bands move in, first responders may be unable to reach those caught off guard.


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