(Running Springs) Usually known for its ideal temperate climate, California is instead dealing these days with unprecedented snowfall and record-breaking mercury.
New snowflakes were falling on the state’s mountains Wednesday, adding to unprecedented accumulations that blocked roads, isolated visitors for days and left thousands of customers without power.
More than 100,000 subscribers were in the dark Wednesday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
A blizzard warning was in effect through Wednesday morning for the Sierra Nevada in the upstate, and for the mountains in southern California. The National Weather Service of the United States predicted up to 60 centimeters of snow by Wednesday evening.
The mercury could drop to -2.2 degrees Celsius. A frost warning was in effect until early Wednesday morning, particularly in the San Francisco area.
A University of California, Berkeley lab near Donner Pass has recorded nearly 13 meters of snowfall since October, an amount not seen since 1970 that so far ranks second only to the roughly 20 meters of snowfall in 1952.
The Mammoth Lakes region, which is usually among the snowiest in California, has received 1.2 meters of snow for three days. Banks of snow are overtaking homes and crews are working tirelessly to clear roads and sidewalks.
The National Weather Service has warned of perilous, if not impossible, travel in the Sierra Nevada, as blowing snow could reduce visibility to zero. Mercury could plunge to -34℃ with wind chill.
Blizzard conditions and gusts of 160 kilometers per hour are possible in the Lake Tahoe region, which straddles California and Nevada in the Nevada Mountains. Waves big enough to overturn a small boat could form on the lake itself, the weather service warned.
Yosemite National Park, which has been closed since Saturday due to snowfall, has indefinitely postponed the reopening scheduled for Thursday.
The Sierra’s snowpack provides about a third of the water for this state that has been struggling with drought for several years. The water content of the snowpack on Tuesday was 186% of the normal amount for that date.