Heavy snow shuts down I-80 through the Sierra for hours; lanes reopen to passenger traffic


More than 2 feet (0.7 meters) of new snow snarled traffic in the Sierra where a winter storm warning remained in effect until 11 p.m. Monday and record rainfall in Reno caused the closure of one school and minor flooding that shut down some streets.

A stretch of Interstate 80 that was closed overnight reopened to passenger traffic but remained off limits Monday morning to commercial vehicles westbound at the Nevada state line and eastbound at Nyack Road in the Emigrant Gap area in California.

The storm packing winds gusting up to 90 mph (144 kph) Sunday night dropped 29 inches (74 centimeters) of snow on Donner Pass where I-80 crosses the top of the Sierra west of Truckee, California, the National Weather Service said.

Multiple cars were stuck for hours near a Shell gas station on Donner Pass Road, waiting for I-80 to reopen, KTLA sister station KTXL reported.

“I’m past frustrated at this point I’m just tired. I slept in the truck for about an hour … now I’m getting phone calls from work asking where I’m at, what’s going on,” driver Jeremy Hedrick told the station.

All schools were closed Monday at Incline Village on Lake Tahoe’s north shore, where up to 18 inches (46 cm) of snow was recorded

Reno High School also was closed due to water damage to classrooms.

Minor flooding caused local street closures in the Reno-Sparks area, but the Truckee River was receding from near flood stage on Monday.

The Truckee River was receding from near flood stage on Monday after a record 1.88 inches (4.5 cm) of rain was recorded Sunday at Reno Tahoe-International Airport, breaking the old record for the day of 0.86 inches (2 cm) set in 1951.

By Monday morning, more than 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) had fallen at the airport over a 24-hour period, pushing the October rainfall total to a record 2.82 inches (7.1 cm), breaking the old mark of 2.65 inches (6.7 cm) set in 2010.

Rain and snow intensity was expected to diminish across the region into Monday night, with just a few additional inches of snow along the Sierra crest.

A high pressure ridge was forecast to build Tuesday Tuesday with temperatures warming through the week into 50s in the Sierra and 60s in the nearby valleys.

In Las Vegas, gusty winds up to 50 mph (80 kph) and rain were expected Monday, the National Weather Service said, before skies clear on Tuesday with a high near 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius).

The weather service in Elko predicted Monday would be very wet and windy, and issued a flood advisory for northeast Nevada and a flood watch in the Ruby Mountains.

Snow levels were expected to drop to 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) with up to 6 inches (15 cm) of accumulation on the highest peaks.

Rainfall could create rockslides and debris flows canyon areas that experienced slides and flows in early August, the weather service said.

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