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Cali officials to would-be skiers: Stop coming to the Sierra

The Weather Network logo The Weather Network 2/17/2019 Caroline Floyd

It's President's Day long weekend in the United States, and while normally that might mean hitting the slopes in California's mountains, this year towns and officials are begging would-be skiers and snowboarders to stay away.

It takes a lot of snow for a ski destination like Tahoe to say 'too much', but that's what has happened over the past week, when some parts of the region saw more than nine feet (2.7 metres) of snow.

With yet more snow on the way and winter storm warnings still in place for much of the Sierra Nevada range, officials from the National Weather Service, California Highway Patrol (CHP), and elsewhere have warned travelers to look elsewhere for their outdoor recreation this long weekend.

"Drivers should not travel up to Tahoe until this storm is over," Caltrans spokesperson Steve Nelson to the Sacramento Bee. "The drive will consist of dangerous winter conditions and long delays."

The CHP in Placerville, east of Sacramento, took a more blunt approach on their Facebook page, telling people to "STOP DRIVING UP HERE FROM OUT OF AREA", and citing 6 to 8 hour delays when it came to rescuing the large number of drivers getting stuck on area roads.

a truck parked on the side of a snow covered road © Provided by Pelmorex Media Inc. It wasn't just the roads that were a mess due to stranded travelers. Small mountain communities were also reportedly "overrun" with snowboarders, skiers, and the cabin-bound who have been unable to navigate roads during the storm. Pollock Pines, a small town between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, was innundated with more visitors than they could manage on Friday night.

"They have nowhere to go to the bathroom, and there’s not enough restaurants. We have basically a couple restaurants that are open, one grocery store, two gas stations," a resident of the town told local media KCRA.

"People were going to the bathroom out on the side of the road, having snowball fights in the middle of the street. They started fighting. People were getting angry. Using GPS to try to get to roads that they thought were there that aren’t there. Getting stuck at people's homes."

With snow levels forecast to drop on Sunday, and another infusion of moisture on the way in from the Pacific, an additional 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) of snow is expected for mountain passes, with lesser amounts and lower elevation.

Fortunately, after Sunday's round of snow wraps up, a calmer stretch of weather is expected through mid-week, before the next system drops in from the north for Thursday.

Sources: KCRA | Sacramento Bee | Thumbnail courtesy Caltrans/@CaltransDist3


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