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Blizzard Warning: Sierra Snow, High Winds Could Make Travel 'Dangerous to Impossible'
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 months ago on
February 29, 2024

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A Pacific storm could create blizzard conditions and drop up to 10 feet of snow in the Sierra.

Fresno rainfall through Sunday is expected to total about an inch.

Snow could fall as low as 2,500 feet elevation in Valley foothills.


A Pacific storm delivering heavy snow and powerful winds is pushing toward California with potential blizzard conditions in the Sierra and up to 10 feet of snow in the Lake Tahoe area by the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Reno issued a blizzard warning Wednesday for a 300-mile stretch of the Sierra from north of Lake Tahoe to south of Yosemite National Park effective from today to 10 a.m. Sunday.

“Do not take this storm lightly,” the weather service in Reno warned. At the highest elevations, wind gusts of more than 100 mph are anticipated.

Closer to home, NWS Hanford is projecting 5 feet to 8 feet of snow in the area in the Sierra above Fresno. In addition, “impactful, low elevation snow will fall in the Sierra Nevada foothills from 2,500 feet to 4,000 feet Saturday evening into Sunday morning,” NWS Hanford said in its Thursday morning discussion.

On the Valley floor, the storm will start with light rain Thursday and gather strength before giving way to sunny skies on Monday, the NWS says. Total rainfall for Fresno and surrounding communities from the storm is expected to be about an inch.

Projected snowfall Feb29-March2 2024

NWS Key Takeaways Today Through Sunday for the Valley

1. Blizzard conditions are expected in the Sierra Nevada north of Tulare County tonight into Sunday morning.

2. Damaging winds and heavy snow could down trees and power lines tonight into Sunday morning.

3. Extreme winter storm impacts are expected throughout the Sierra Nevada tonight through Saturday evening due to blowing snow, snow load, and snow amounts up to 8 feet.

4. Impactful, low-elevation snow likely in the Sierra Nevada foothills from 2,500 feet to 4,000 feet Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

5. Strong, gusty winds possible in the Kern County desert from 10 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday.

6. Light snow is possible along Interstate 5 over Tejon Pass and along Highway 58 over Tehachapi Pass Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Sierra Snow Record Could Fall Near Tahoe

The lead scientist at a snow lab atop the Sierra said it’s possible they could break their modern-day record of about 3.5 feet of snow in a single day from back in 1989.

“It’s a very serious storm for us,” Andrew Schwartz said Wednesday from UC-Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab, founded in 1946 in Soda Springs, California, northwest of Lake Tahoe.

Kristi Anderson, a waitress at The Gateway Cafe in South Lake Tahoe, California said she’s already filled up her gas tank and was stocking up on food and firewood.

“Last year we had a lot of storms, and the power went out a lot and a lot of people couldn’t get out to get food and the grocery stores didn’t have power so, we’re preparing for that,” Anderson said. “I’m hoping not a lot of people travel here because the roads will be really bad.”

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)

 

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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