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Departing Atmospheric River Blankets Tahoe Ski Resorts With 3 Feet Of Snow

TRUCKEE (CBS SF) -- After battering the San Francisco Bay Area with torrential downpours and flooding, a potent atmospheric river took aim at the Tahoe Basin, dumping as much as three feet of snow on the higher elevations, before departing out of Northern California.

Rainshowers fell first in the region before temperatures plunged to transform rain drops into snow flurries on Monday. It was a perfect combination for what is know as Sierra Cement -- heavy wet powder that creates a solid base on the slopes.

Palisades Tahoe reported that 39 inches of snow -- more than 3 feet -- had fallen at the resort by early Tuesday. The resort announced Tuesday afternoon that it would open on Friday, nearly a month ahead of schedule and only the third time in 72 years that it has opened in October.

"Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline staff and operations crews, skiers and riders in the Tahoe area will be able to have the unique experience of hitting the slopes for Halloween weekend," the resort said.

Meanwhile, Mount Rose in Nevada received 38 inches and Northstar received 36 inches.

Mammoth Mountain, located in the Sierra south of Tahoe, will also kick off its 2021-2022 ski season on Friday. With snow still falling early Tuesday, the resort has received 41 inches of snow, making it the second snowiest October on record trailing only 2004.

A combination of man-made snow and the storms will allow skiing on selected runs.

Elsewhere in the Sierra, the storm whipped up wind gusts up to 90 mph, creating treacherous driving conditions on the mountain passes.

All schools were closed Monday at Incline Village on Lake Tahoe's north shore, where up to 18 inches of snow was recorded. A foot of snow was reported in California on Tahoe's west shore at Homewood and 5 inches at South Lake Tahoe.

The Truckee River was receding from near flood stage on Monday after a record 1.88 inches of rain was recorded Sunday at Reno Tahoe-International Airport, breaking the old record for the day set in 1951.

By Monday morning, more than 2.5 inches had fallen at the airport over a 24-hour period, pushing the October rainfall total to a record 2.82 inches, breaking the old mark of 2.65 inches set in 2010.

The snow and rain throughout the weekend helped raise the water level at Lake Tahoe back above the natural rim, allowing water to resume flowing into the Truckee River at Tahoe City.

Massive rockslides also crashed down onto Highway 50 at Echo Summit and on Highway 70 in Plumas County during the stormy weather on Sunday.


© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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