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Blizzard Conditions Shut Down Highway 80 In The Sierra

TRUCKEE (CBS SF) -- Gusty winds and blizzard conditions forced the closure of Highway 80 in the Sierra from the Nevada state line to Applegate, the California Highway Patrol reported Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Lake Tahoe area until 5 a.m. Saturday. Officials at Homewood Mountain Resort on Lake Tahoe's west shore received 24 inches of snow over the last 24 hours and 58 inches over the last three days.

Meanwhile, Northstar has received 26 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours and Squaw Valley had gotten two feet of new powder.

Forecasters said up to 3 feet of snow could fall over 7,000 before the storm moves on over the weekend.

An avalanche warning was issued for the Tahoe area through 7 a.m. Saturday. The National Weather Service said "very dangerous avalanche conditions will occur" over the next 24 hours.

Squaw Valley officials said they were limiting lift operations to lower mountains at Squaw and Alpine to allow for safe avalanche control.

The blizzard conditions were expected to continue for the much of the day in the Tahoe area.

"The heaviest snow will persist over the Tahoe Basin through much of this afternoon, tapering off but not ending this evening," the NWS warned Friday morning.

It was just two weeks ago that a pair of avalanches walloped two ski resorts in as many days, fortunately no one was killed.

The Mono County Sheriff's department said three people were partially buried in an avalanche at Southern California's Mammoth Mountain ski resort while five people were swept up by an avalanche at Squaw Valley.

Three people were uninjured, one was treated for minor injuries but the fifth was hospitalized with a serious lower body injury.

In another freak accident, a San Francisco woman and her young son were killed when snow fell from the roof of a ski condo, burying them as they returned home from the slopes.

The Alpine County Sheriff's Department said 50-year-old Olga Perkovic and her son were about 30 feet from their front door when a chunk of snow about the size of a trailer fell on them.

Their bodies were found under 3 feet of snow.

254-26 inches at summit..


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