Sierra county runs out of places to put snow

Sierra county runs out of places to put snow
March 24, 2011 6:03:52 PM PDT
The storm is dumping so much snow at Lake Tahoe and the roads leading to it, that Highway 80 is shut down, but Highway 50 is open with chains required. On Thursday at Heavenly, the snow was blowing sideways. Also getting around Tahoe is a challenge, with anywhere from two to five feet in the forecast and white out conditions.

At Soda Springs Ski Resort most of the buildings and homes were almost buried in the snow.

"We're looking at condition red. That means we're going to be swamped tonight. This is going to dump and dump and dump," said Snow Plow Operator Dave Hampton.

Those who run snow plows in the high Sierra say they've run out of places to put all this snow -- the most anyone's seen here in 40 years.

"We have nowhere to throw it and neither does the county, so it's a little cat and mouse game. We throw the snow out of the driveways, it goes into the street, then we have to move it twice and now the county doesn't know what they're going to do with their snow," said Hampton.

The latest onslaught is even too much for Placer County's big plows. Drivers are having a hard time seeing what's underneath walls of snow that are approaching 20 feet in some places.

Cordin Snyder, from Placer County Public Works, said there is no place to put the snow so workers were trying to "blow it as far as they can, get it where they can."

Chain controls along Interstate 80 began at Alta, just above 3,500 feet. By midday, the road was closed entirely, due to high winds and whiteout conditions. Up the hills, Soda Springs ski area never opened for the day and the few workers that did show up needed help getting out.

With the plows overwhelmed, residents and visitors at Serene Lakes subdivision are pretty much on their own when it comes to digging out.

A few college students on spring break from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo were at a home, owned by one of their parents.

"Right now, we're soaking in the most snow I've ever seen up here," said Ryan Vilfer, from Serene Lakes.

When asked if he would have rather gone to Cabo, Angelo Gagliardi from Serene Lakes said, "Yes, definitely, or Southern California, or a lake somewhere, a warm lake."

At Blue Canyon, where the Department of Water Resources measures things, they had 61 inches last week, on Thursday alone they had 124 inches of snowfall.

Yosemite National Park re-opened to visitors this morning with limited food and retail services. Power is still out, and electricity will not be restored until sometime this weekend. The park is subject to closure again, depending on the weather and road conditions. Right now, visitors can enter the park through highways 120, 140 and 41. Campgrounds will remain closed until noon on Monday.


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