Dangerous winds in the Sierra Nevada area toppled a semi-trailer truck, downed power lines and closed a stretch of highway in Southern California on Monday ahead of a winter storm expected to bring up to 2 feet of snow to mountain tops around Lake Tahoe.
U.S. Highway 6 was closed due to downed power lines south of Yosemite National Park near Bishop, California. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries after a tractor trailer flipped on U.S. Highway 395 near Pearsonville about 150 miles north of Los Angeles.
The road was later reopened.
A 94-mph gust of wind was reported Monday morning at Mammoth Lakes Airport. A few miles away in the Crowley Lake area, wind gusts of 101 mph were reported, NWS reported.
Strong winds ahead of a storm were blamed for driving a brushfire in Los Padres National Forest, north of Santa Barbara. The Cave Fire quickly spread over thousands of acres of dry, brushy canyons. Evacuations were called for some streets in the Goleta foothill area.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Tahoe area from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday. Eight to 18 inches of snow was possible at lake level with winds gusting as high as 60 mph.
Snow also was forecast across most of central Nevada and as far south as the mountains around Las Vegas.
Snow totals could reach 3 feet by Thanksgiving Day along the Sierra Crest, the weather service said.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the service said. “If you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday … finish your travels by midday Tuesday.”
A winter weather advisory runs 4 p.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Wednesday for areas the Reno and Carson City areas, with 5 inches of snow possible.
Most of central and east-central Nevada is under a winter storm watch late Tuesday through Wednesday night, with 10 to 20 inches of snow possible in upper elevations and 5 to 10 inches below.
In southern Nevada, a winter storm watch is in effect late Tuesday through Friday night, with 8 to 24 inches of snow possible in the Sheep Range in Lincoln County, and the Spring Mountains-Red Rock Canyon west of Las Vegas.