Avalanches Close Highway 50 at Echo Summit

ECHO SUMMIT -- Monday's drive to South Lake Tahoe along Highway 50 was much more of an adventure than travelers might have expected.

They had to slow down for wet, slippery pavement in the rain.

They encountered fire as the Forest Service conducted controlled burns in the area.

Then, near Echo Summit, some drivers got stuck because of a snowslide. The avalanche covered the two-lane highway.

Nobody was hurt but at least one car had to be dug out, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.

Caltrans tweeted at around 3:45 p.m., saying crews were clearing several snowslides in the area. The highway was closed for around four hours.

Avalanches also shut down Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. The CHP says it is unknown when the roadway will reopen.

"Over the last couple of days, we've had heat up here. So you get the snowmelt on the mountainside and then you start getting the avalanches," said CHP Sgt. Robert West. "And then at night, it starts to get cold again because of the elevation, so it starts to freeze again."

West urged travelers to be aware of the avalanche dangers by day and the black ice overnight.

"Pay attention, slow down and watch for the snow in the roadway," Sgt. West said.

Locals FOX40 spoke with in South Lake Tahoe also issued warnings about massive amounts of snow sliding off rooftops in the warmer temperatures.

"I closed the door and all of a sudden all of this sheeting came down and came right in front of me. I'm so glad I wasn't just a second more right in front. I would've gotten blasted by it," said resident Carey Huggins.

While it's important to watch your speed while driving, some said tourists go too slow and make unnecessary stops.

"You're going to have other people behind you get stuck or slide. It's just unsafe sometimes," said one local resident.

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