More than a foot of snow falls in the Sierra on Wednesday, and Mother Nature’s not done yet

Here's what a foot of new snow looks like at Alpine Meadows

The Olympic Valley resort was blanketed with a new foot of snow Jan. 25 amid the Winter Storm Warning in the Sierras.
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The Olympic Valley resort was blanketed with a new foot of snow Jan. 25 amid the Winter Storm Warning in the Sierras.

Ski resorts such as Tahoe Donner, Sugar Bowl and Kirkwood all reported at least a foot of snow from the storm that began passing through Northern California on Wednesday morning, and up to an additional 12 inches is expected before conditions dry out Friday.

Heavenly Ski Resort reported 18 inches of snow as of 7:30 a.m. Thursday, driving its seven-day total up to 38 inches. But regional winds up to 60 mph forced Heavenly to shut six routes down Wednesday, per the resort’s Twitter account, and made driving difficult in high elevations.

Another 4 to 6 inches of snow are expected south of Lake Tahoe between Thursday and Friday morning, and up to a foot more farther north. A winter storm warning remains in effect from Lassen Volcanic National Park down the Sierra Nevada’s western slope through 10 a.m. Friday, and drivers are urged to move slowly and cautiously, especially in areas with limited visibility.

Sacramento had received about 0.2 inches of rain as of 4 a.m. Thursday, same as most other cities in the valley. Showers that doused the North Coast with up to 1.75 inches were expected to spread inland throughout Thursday morning but aren’t predicted to reach Sacramento, which the National Weather Service estimated might get another 0.1 inches before the day is done.

Shasta County towns as low as 2,000 feet above sea level got a few flakes of snow, said Jim Mathews, National Weather Service meteorologist. In the Sierra, Kyburz saw about four inches at about 4,200 feet.

“We were thinking we’d see snow at about 3,000 feet in the Sierra on the I-80 (and) I-50 corridor, and I don’t think it got lower than 3,500,” Mathews said Thursday morning. “Now, today there is potential there for lower snow levels down into the Mother Lode around 2,500, or 3,000 feet.”

The Northern Sierra eight-station index shows 77 percent of regular precipitation since Oct. 1, the start of the new water year. After a dry December, the index has picked up 40 percent more rain than the historical average so far in January.

Forecasts indicate clear skies and highs in the upper 50s through the next week.

As Lake Tahoe residents and visitors prepared for a winter storm on Wednesday, January 24, Lake Tahoe’s choppy waves was filmed by a marine crew from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. It shows the crew’s boat in five-to-six-foot swells, a sherif

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Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel