Powerful Winds With Gusts up to 137 MPH Reported Near Lake Tahoe as Winter Storm Hits Region

Chains or snow tires are required on much of U.S. Interstate 80 in the Sierra and most highways around Lake Tahoe after a winter storm packing snow and winds in excess of 130 mph (209 kph) blew through the region.

A weather advisory for the Reno-Tahoe area expired at 10 a.m. Tuesday but a winter storm watch goes into effect Thursday when a stronger storm is forecast to bring up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow to the highest elevations.

Less than a half-foot (15 cm) of snow was recorded at most Tahoe-area ski resorts but dangerous winds battered the mountain tops up and down the Sierra’s eastern front. High-profile vehicles were prohibited on I-580 in the Washoe Valley between Reno and Carson City.

Chains were mandatory for all trucks and cars except for four-wheel vehicles with snow tires for about a 70-mile (110-kilometer) stretch of I-80 west of the California-Nevada line.

The National Weather Service says the strongest wind gust was 137 mph (220 kph) at Alpine Meadows near Tahoe City, California at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The neighboring Squaw Valley resort reported a gust of 124 mph (200 kph). An 85 mph (137 kph) gust was recorded at Mount Rose near Reno.

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