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Heavy snowfall in Sierra Mountains

January 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The massive storm pounding the West Coast with gale-force wind and heavy rain dropped a thick blanket of snow on the Sierra Nevada Saturday.It's become practically a 'white-out.'

Up to 44 inches of snow had fallen in some parts of the Sierra Nevada, where a blizzard warning was downgraded Friday evening to a winter storm warning, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters expected the storm to dump as much as 10 feet of snow on the mountain range by Sunday.

Friday evening, the California Department of Transportation closed Interstate 80 across the Sierra, the main east-west link between Northern California and Nevada. I-80 was reopened Saturday afternoon.

The Red Cross set up a 200-bed shelter in Truckee for stranded motorists, as well as a shelter in Butte County.

In San Francisco, the powerful storm has caused a lot of problems.

It knocked down trees and power lines. At one point, more than 130,000 people had their electricity cut off.

Air travelers saw their flight plans put on hold when airlines delayed or canceled flights in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area due to gusts of up to 80 miles an hour.


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