LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) — Snowboarders hoping to make it to Sierra slopes are “snowed out,” and Bay Area residents who enjoyed Christmas in Lake Tahoe cabins are snowed in.
A powerful snowstorm has blocked every major highway in and out of Lake Tahoe.
Caltrans officials said their crews are working around-the-clock to get the highways reopened. I-80 will remain closed until at least Tuesday.
I-80 is indefinitely closed from Applegate Road to Nevada Stateline.
SR-89 is closed from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley Road due to an avalanche.
SR-267 is closed from Northstar to Kings Beach.
SR-89 is closed from Truckee to Sierraville.
US-50 is closed from Placerville to Myers.
According to the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans, there are no estimated reopening times for any of the road closures.
Caltrans warned motorists against trying to find alternative local roads to navigate around highway closures.
“Our crews work 24/7 during storms to assess roadways, clear downed trees and remove snow. Please do NOT attempt to use local roads to circumvent highway closures. You will get stuck!” Caltrans District 3 tweeted.
Despite whiteout conditions, motorists were still making risky decisions on Monday afternoon.
CalTrans tweeted, “PSA for those trying to use Rollins Lake to sneak past the I-80 closure: You. Will. Not. Get. Through. I-80 remains CLOSED between Applegate and the Nevada state line. You will be turned around and you’re putting crews at risk who are working to clear downed trees, snow, etc.”
CHP Truckee officers said it’s tough to even find the roads because so many feet of snow have blanketed the ground.
The storm “smashed” a 50-year-old snow record for the Sierra, according to UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab. The lab reported nearly 40 inches of snow falling within the past 24 hours brought its December snowfall total up to 193.7 inches.
“That snow was deep and hard to get through to do the measurement. It took us 40 minutes to get from the front door of the lab to where the measurement is completed 50 yards away,” the lab tweeted.
“Snow rates are still heavy and we could even break the 200″ mark today!” the lab tweeted.
PG&E reported Monday afternoon that 69,000 customers were without power in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, and Sierra counties.
“Access is a major challenge as some of the roads have been shut down and still need to be cleared,” PG&E tweeted.
County officials are urging people to stay indoors and delay traveling until the brunt of the storm passes and roads reopened.
A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service will remain in effect for Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas until 1 a.m. Tuesday.