Heavy Snow Welcome In The Sierra

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Heavy snow continued in the Sierra on Monday,
delighting Lake Tahoe area ski resorts, but causing headaches for
drivers across the region and northern Nevada.

A winter storm warning for the Lake Tahoe region and Reno area remained in effect through 10 p.m. Monday. As much as 2 feet of snow was expected in higher elevations by Tuesday night, with 6 to 8 inches on the valley floors, the National Weather Service said.

Heavenly Mountain Resort, which opened last week on the south end of Lake Tahoe, reported nearly 18 inches of snow by Monday to add to its 24-inch base depth. Prior to the storms Heavenly had been making snow.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort, which opened Sunday, reported 14 to 18
inches of new snow and Squaw Valley USA on the north end of the
lake reported 22 inches of new snow.

"Mother Nature's finally got it right and she's cooperating to supplement our snowmaking efforts," said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

"The timing is perfect as it sets us up with a healthy snow pack for the holiday season and beyond," said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.

Nearly two dozen snow plows started working 24-hour shifts Sunday night in the city of Reno, where heavy snowfall reduced visibility to nearly zero at one point at midday Monday before the flurries slowed and the sun broke through.

Chains or snow tires were required on all trans-Sierra highways, including Interstate 80 and U.S. 50. Travel restrictions also were posted for U.S. 395 through Washoe Valley, and for several hundred miles north of Reno into California.

"There's moderate snowfall and the wind is blowing, which is reducing visibility," said Sgt. Steve Bryan of the California Highway Patrol. He said here had been 30 to 35 accidents in the area since the storm started Saturday, mostly fender-benders that caused only minor injuries if any.

"We've had cars into cars, cars into snow banks, a few have hit some snowplows."

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen said a Reno police officer was on the scene of one accident when another driver struck that car and the officer, who suffered minor injuries and was taken to St. Mary's hospital.

"It's just another example of why folks need to slow down," he said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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