Here's how wild the snowstorm really was in Lake Tahoe last weekend

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Here's how wild the snowstorm really was in Tahoe last weekend
Heavy snowstorm and high winds slammed the Lake Tahoe region this past weekend creating chaos on the roads.

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- For days, the CHP and Caltrans warned drivers to delay travel through the Sierra because of whiteout conditions over the weekend. Monday, the backups and closures were cleared.

And now, people are looking back at how wild that storm really was.

Heavy snow and high winds slammed the Sierra this past weekend creating chaos on the roads.

The CHP had to rescue some drivers on I-80 near Donner Summit because of whiteout conditions. Nearly 200 drivers were stranded there. And on other highways around Lake Tahoe - more stuck motorists.

Snowfall totals: Here's just how much it snowed in Tahoe this weekend during extreme blizzard

Wendy Fields of Napa resident was staying at a condo in Tahoe City.

"I've never seen that many cars stuck on the side of the road!! The snow came down so heavy and so quickly that I think a lot of people were caught off guard," said Fields. "We went out walking and there were lots of cars stuck on I-89 in snowdrifts. So, we lent a hand, pushed a few, helped to shovel."

On Monday after I-80 was shut down for days, there came some relief for drivers and residents.

"I'm in a truck with four-wheel drive," said former ABC7 News reporter Laura Anthony. She was finally able to make her way home to the Reno area.

"I honestly don't see a lot of passenger cars with chains," said Anthony. "I saw many many dozens of big rigs lined up along Interstate 80 waiting for the chain controls to go through - Caltrans has done an amazing job clearing this freeway. I thought it was going to be a lot worse."

Snow blowers were hard at work on Monday.

MORE: Tahoe ski resorts close as potentially record-breaking snowstorm slams into Sierra

Wendy Fields of Napa is staying in Tahoe City where they have 15-foot snow drifts outside her condo. Fields came up to ski and wonders when she'll be able to get back.

"I have a Tesla and the Tesla chargers have not been dug out," said Fields.

"There's a huge wall behind me. Eight feet of snow is the amount of snow we got in just February," said Palisades Tahoe spokeswoman Maddy Condon.

At Palisades Tahoe, so much snow fell in such a short period of time.

"An absolute insane blizzard, snowstorm. The winds that hit top ridge hit 190 mph," said Condon.

The ski resort opened up on Monday. But only after some serious cleanup that it posted about X.

Hurricane force winds blew out some windows and filled the lift area with snow. Crews had to clear out the snow before they could start spinning the chair.

Crews were working overtime; so was the equipment. And so, reportedly, equipment across the region was breaking down.

"I know multiple snow plow companies that work on the roads, in the area some of their machinery have broken down. That that's what happens when this much snow. Usually we can handle the 6 inch storms pretty easily. Nothing to bat an eyelash about. But 8 feet, I don't know if people understand how much snow that truly is," said Condon.

According to Caltrans, most of their snow blowers are broken.

Caltrans posted on X that only 8 of their 30 snow blowers were working.

The good news though -- I-80 is open again to all traffic in both directions.

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