Storm ups water levels, closes schools | SierraSun.com
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Storm ups water levels, closes schools

Renee Shadforth, Sierra Sun
Josh MillerCody DeFount slides down a hill off Donner Pass Road Wednesday. As of Thursday, water content in the snow was at 104 percent of average and expected to climb in Truckee.
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This week’s much-needed storm dropped a few feet of snow in Truckee and caused some problems on the roadways.

There were a few minor snow-related accidents on Interstate 80, and most of the incidents were in the Gold Run area, said CHP Sgt. Mike Davis.

“It was mostly people sliding off the road; there were no major incidents,” Davis said Thursday morning. “There were a couple of shutdowns on the interstate due to white-out conditions.”

On westbound I-80 near the Sierra-Nevada county line, some rocks slid down the hillside throughout the day. Late in the afternoon, a large rock slid onto the roadway, blocking the right lane. Caltrans cleared the lane and the road remained open, Davis said.

Chain controls were in effect on all highways around Truckee on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District called snow days on Wednesday and Thursday.

TTUSD Superintendent Dennis Williams made the decision to call Wednesday’s snow day at 10 p.m. Tuesday. School officials called off Thursday’s school day at 4 a.m. Thursday morning, said Director of Transportation Services Tom Miller.

“Really, these (the snow days) were called on the side of safety,” Miller said. “If we really wanted to guts it out, we probably could have operated, but it was a safety issue.”

Miller said the transportation department looks at road conditions, temperature, wind, amount of snow and snow level when determining whether or not to call a snow day. District officials consider the conditions going to school in the morning and from school in the afternoon, he said.

This week’s storm increased Truckee’s precipitation levels, which are below seasonal averages. As of Thursday, the snow’s water content in Truckee was at 104 percent of average, and precipitation was at 90 percent of average for the season, according to data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Weather Service.

“This is good news,” said Gary Barbato, a Weather Service hydrologist. “January to the first part of February were relatively dry.”

He said the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe are still below average levels.

The National Weather Service predicts cloudy skies over the weekend, with a chance of snow on Sunday evening.

CHP Sgt. Davis said drivers should be prepared for upcoming hazardous road conditions.

“Be sure you carry chains, drive slowly and watch out for Caltrans plows,” Davis said. “Anticipate the fact that it’s going to take significantly longer to drive over the summit.”

Go to http://www.weather.gov for updated weather conditions.


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