At Donner Summit, scientists at the Central Sierra Snow Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, on Saturday reported more than two feet of snowfall in less than 36 hours , and state transportation officials were turning big rigs around amid deteriorating road conditions. At 7 a.m., more than 30 semi trucks were parked in a single file along the shoulder of eastbound Interstate 80 at the Nevada state line.
Rain and Floods in California
For weeks, a string of major storms have hit California, causing extreme flooding and damage across the state.
State, federal and local officials implored motorists to stay off roads that were already filled with determined travelers bound for the slopes on a packed Martin Luther King Day weekend.
“If you can avoid travel, please consider staying home,” Mike Keever, the chief deputy director of the state transportation agency, Caltrans, said at a news conference on Friday. “Watch some football. Enjoy some time with your family.”
But on Olympic Valley Road, at the crest of the Sierra Nevada, a slow-moving traffic jam inched forward in thick snow toward Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort near Lake Tahoe where, by 6 a.m., nearly a foot of new snow had fallen.
Andrew Feldmeth, 24, an engineer from San Francisco, said the three- or four-hour drive from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe took him nine hours as white-out visibility stopped traffic for hours on Friday night.
“People were spinning out like crazy,” Mr. Feldmeth said, adding that it was 11 p.m. by the time he pulled into his ski lease on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore. “We were fine, it was just the other people you don’t know about.”
In Santa Clara County, where a light rain fell on the Saturday NFL playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, crowds at Levi’s Stadium were undiminished. Two days before, the 49ers tight end George Kittle had publicly expressed his impatience with power outages that have stretched for days in some parts of Northern California.