As Snowmageddon 2021 descends on Northern California, the forecasts continue to intensify. With over 100 inches of snow set to fall on the Sierra by Friday, weather and law enforcement officials are performing a media blitz to relay the severity and danger of the storm.
The National Weather Service has issued a rare Blizzard Warning from Tuesday night to Friday morning as it expects dangerous whiteout conditions from the Tahoe mountains down to the Easter Sierra. Travel is highly discouraged as up to 8 feet of snow along with 100+ mph winds are expected.
NEW: Winter Storm Warning has been upgraded to a BLIZZARD WARNING⚠️ for parts of the Sierra Nevada, impacting I-80 & US-50. ❄️— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) January 26, 2021
Driving conditions will deteriorate rapidly tonight with white-out conditions & near-zero visibility from this dangerous winter storm. #CAwx #CAsnow pic.twitter.com/nTwmRmOEY3
“Travel could be near impossible or even paralyzed with near zero visibility through Friday morning,” wrote the NWS in a statement. “Very strong winds could cause tree damage and power outages. If you risk travel over the Sierra passes, you cloud be stuck in your car for several hours, if not a day. Cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.”
On top of the vicious snowfall and winds in the mountains, the NWS also warns of potential thundersnow, a dreaded mixture of lightning and snowfall. With all of the obstacles traveling in this weather, it could be impossible to perform rescue missions in high-elevation areas.
“This is a life threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel! Road crews and first responders may not be able to rescue you. Stay indoors until the snow and wind subside. Even a short walk could be deadly if you become disoriented.”
Stay safe, NorCal.