TRUCKEE, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 02: A worker uses a snowblower in front of a downtown business north of Lake Tahoe during a powerful multiple day winter storm in the Sierra Nevada mountains on March 02, 2024 in Truckee, California. Blizzard warnings were issued with snowfall of up to 12 feet and wind gusts over 100 mph expected in some higher elevation locations. Yosemite National Park is closed and a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 80 was shut down yesterday due to the storm.
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Yosemite National Park Shuts Down After 'Life-Threatening' Blizzard Slams California

More than 12 feet of snow and 190 mph wind gusts have pounded the Golden state.

A fierce blizzard is raging across California this week, with more than 300 vehicles trapped on snow-blanketed roads, some still containing motorists, amidst the perilous whiteout conditions. The snowfall has buried homes, knocked out power to nearly 8,000 residences, and even prompted the closure of Yosemite National Park. Weather officials, including National Weather Service meteorologist William Churchill, are urgently advising against travel and raising alarms about potentially life-threatening situations, especially near Lake Tahoe. The storm has extended beyond California, impacting parts of Nevada, Utah, and Colorado with its unforgiving wintry conditions.

"It's certainly just about as bad as it gets in terms of the snow totals and the winds," Churchill said. "It doesn't get much worse."

According to the California Highway Patrol, it took several hours for emergency personnel and tow trucks to reach motorists due to blizzard conditions. Key roadways between California and Nevada have been shut down entirely.


A dangerous #winterstorm is slamming #northerncalifornia with rare #blizzard conditions and fierce winds as it threatens to unload up to 10 feet of snow in the mountains and snarl travel. About a half million people are under blizzard warnings in the Mountain West, with another 6 million under winter weather alerts across the region. The weather service on Friday warned of ?high to extreme? avalanche danger through Sunday afternoon in the Central Sierra and Greater Lake Tahoe area. The most extreme conditions are unfolding at the highest elevations, where snowfall rates could top three to five inches an hour through Saturday, threatening road closures and increasing the risk of avalanches. Read more at the link in our bio.

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The blizzard, now winding down in its third day, has dumped more than 12 feet of snow since it began to fall Sunday. The higher elevations around Lake Tahoe have been hit harder than lower elevations. Snowfall in those regions is expected to continue throughout the day due to a secondary system moving through, although it will fall at a slower rate. The National Weather Service has warned visitors from attempting to visit the area's ski centers this weekend, calling road conditions "dangerous to impossible." The winds were a huge concern, as well, as powerful gusts reached 190 mph, making visibility all but zero. For context, that is well above the threshold for a Category 5 hurricane, which clocks in at 157 mph.

The current smaller system hitting the region could add another foot or two to the higher elevations, although Alan Reppert, an AccuWeather senior meteorologist, did not believe it would break any records, despite its effects on the region. Kyle Frankland, a snow plow truck driver who has lived in the region for 44 years, agreed.


Yosemite National Park reopens at noon today 03/03/24 #elcapitan #yosemitenationalpark #yosemite #snow #winterstorm #winter #winterwonderland

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"This is a pretty good storm," Frankland told USA Today. "It's not record-breaking by any means, but it's a good storm."

Yosemite National Park has partially reopened, though park officials encourage visitors to exercise extreme caution and "bring a shovel" if they're participating in winter camping.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Yosemite Guide, from a National Park Aficionado