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Avalanches, snow slides and chain controls: Storms keep pounding Northern California

Tahoe resort saw 14 inches of fresh powder in 24 hours

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Tahoe ski resort received 14 inches of snow in 24 hours. Skiers enjoy the fresh powder on March 28, 2019.
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Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Tahoe ski resort received 14 inches of snow in 24 hours. Skiers enjoy the fresh powder on March 28, 2019.

There’s no weekend reprieve in store for Northern California after a wet start to the week. In fact, it should only get wetter.

National Weather Service says Friday and Saturday will see a “stronger, wetter” storm than the one passing through Monday and Tuesday, with as much as 1 to 2 feet of snow possible near summit passes this weekend.

Rain and snowfall were expected to be light during this week’s first storm, but Caltrans and sheriff’s departments have reported a snow slide incident Monday afternoon and an avalanche Tuesday morning, both of which closed stretches of highways.

Highway 89 is closed about 5 miles north of the Highway 50 junction due to an avalanche, with no estimated time of reopening, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet about 5:30 a.m.

Snow slides Monday afternoon closed Highway 50 at Echo Summit for more than three hours, El Dorado Sheriff’s Office and Caltrans reported. The highway reopened right before 5 p.m.

Be careful in the snowy Sierra

Placer Sheriff’s Office advises chain controls are likely throughout Tuesday as snow and rain are expected around Lake Tahoe throug h9 p.m. Chain controls were in place on Interstate 80 at Donner Summit until about 8:15 a.m.

A winter weather advisory is in place through Wednesday, as 3 to 6 inches of snow are expected above 6,500 feet.

Snow levels of 7,000 feet Monday have lowered to about 6,500 feet, and will fall again to 6,000 feet by the weekend, NWS forecasts show.

Sacramento stays mostly wet

Except for a cloudy, mostly dry Wednesday, Sacramento and the valley will see more rainfall: lighter showers Tuesday and Thursday before the stronger storm hits starting Friday.

Most of Sacramento got a quarter-inch or less of rain in the 24 hours between 7:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. Even lighter showers, less than 0.1 inches in much of the region, are expected the rest of Tuesday — but isolated thunderstorms remain a possibility that could drop downpours throughout interior Northern California, including Sacramento.

The latest NWS forecasts have the rain clearing out and temperatures ramping back up to the 70s by Sunday or Monday.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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