Emergency workers are searching for a skier lost during an avalanche near the Mount Rose Ski Resort northeast of Lake Tahoe, according to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bob Harmon said two skiers in their 60s trekked to the Jack Pot Run early Saturday, even though that run was closed due to a threat of avalanche. One came out following the avalanche and called 911 around 10 a.m., Harmon said.
The skier went missing on a blustery day in the Sierra Nevada when some ski resorts closed and others shut down chairlifts and gondolas at their highest elevations. High winds, rain and snow made for dangerous conditions.
Authorities suspended the rescue operation for the missing skier at 2 p.m. while resort officials performed further avalanche mitigation to reduce risk for search and rescue teams. A few hours later, Harmon announced that the search had been called off for the night “due to safety concerns” but will resume Sunday morning.
“It’s more a matter of conditions than the light,” he said, referring to the threat of another avalanche. A few hours later, Harmon announced that the search had been called off for the night “due to safety concerns” but will resume Sunday morning.
At lower elevations in the foothills, communities were under a flood watch issued by the National Weather Service.
Placer and El Dorado counties saw multiple reports of localized flooding, based on CHP dispatch logs. The fallout included cars getting stuck on Latrobe Road near El Dorado Hills and mudslides in the middle of Salmon Falls Road.
While some streets were snarled by floodwater in Nevada City and Grass Valley on Saturday morning, no injuries or major closures had been reported, said Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Sean Scales.
The Sacramento region saw a steady rainfall during the day, enough to dampen but not cancel outdoor events. The annual Santa Parade took place around the state Capitol in the morning, as did Woodland’s holiday parade. Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg and City Council members participated in a day of volunteer activities, many of which were outdoors.
In the Sierra, rough weather forced the closure of Sugar Bowl Resort and Royal Gorge near Donner Summit. Sugar Bowl announced shortly before 1 p.m., “Due to extreme weather, lifts will be closed until tomorrow.”
Heavenly announced at 11 a.m. that its gondola and all lifts except for Stagecoach Express were closed for the days because of wind. Earlier, Heavenly reported winds of up to 60 mph at the top of the gondola. The Upper Mountain at Squaw Valley was closed due to heavy snow overnight and wind.
While the persistent rain caused problems, it was also welcome following five years of drought. The northern Sierra has received about 21 inches of precipitation since October, roughly 8 inches above the historical average, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The northern Sierra usually doesn’t see that much precipitation until around mid-January.