RENO, Nev. (AP) — More than 3 feet of new snow (90 centimeters) in the Sierra and winds gusting to nearly 150 mph (240 kph) over the ridge tops temporarily shut down Interstate 80 on Friday and forced the cancellation of schools and state offices from Reno to Lake Tahoe.
More than another foot of snow was possible into Saturday.
A blizzard warning expired Friday but whiteout conditions were still possible around Lake Tahoe, where a winter storm warning remained in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said.
I-80 reopened Friday morning but chains or snow tires were required from west of the California-Nevada line across the top of the Sierra, and on all major mountain passes.
“Strong winds will cause whiteout conditions in blowing and drifting snow at times,” the Weather Service in Reno said Friday. “Avoid travel if possible. You could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours.”
Four feet (120 cm) already has fallen at Mammoth Mountain south of Yosemite National Park. A 146 mph (235 kph) gust of wind was recorded Thursday night atop Squaw Valley resort on the north end of Lake Tahoe, with a gust of 137 mph (220 kph) at neighboring Alpine Meadows.
Three feet (90 cm) of snow was measured at the Kirkwood resort south of Lake Tahoe and at the Mount Rose ski resort on the southwest edge of Reno.
Up to 6 inches (15 cm) of snow fell in the Reno area, which remains under a winter weather advisory until 10 a.m. Saturday. An 82 mph (132 kph) gust of wind was recorded Thursday on the west edge of Reno near Verdi.
The biggest storm of the season prompted one area ski resort to postpone a ceremony planned Saturday to celebrate the accomplishments of several Lake Tahoe-area Olympians just back from the Winter Games in South Korea.
Snowboarders Jamie Anderson, who won gold and silver medals, Maddie Bowman and Hannah Teter were among those scheduled to attend the daylong event at Sierra-at-Tahoe south of the lake.
The weather system was making its way east toward Utah on Friday. A winter storm warning was in effect until noon Saturday for most of northeast Nevada, and until 7 p.m. Saturday in east-central Nevada, including Great Basin National Park on the Utah line where up to 2 feet (60 cm) of snow is possible in the upper elevations.
In Utah, the National Weather Service posted storm warnings beginning Friday and extending through late Sunday morning for the Great Salt Lake Desert, Cache Valley and Wasatch Front.
Forecasters predicted snowfall amounts of up to 1 foot (30 cm) in Cache Valley, up to 20 inches (50 cm) in the Wasatch Mountains and western Uinta Mountains, and localized amounts topping 2 feet (60 cm) in some places.
Rocky Mountain Power spokeswoman Tiffany Erickson told the Salt Lake Tribune that several thousand customers were without power in Tooele after winds knocked down power lines.
The Utah Avalanche Center warned of avalanche danger Friday near Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo, Skyline and the Uintas, and moderate danger near Moab and Abajo.