Heavy snowstorms continue pummeling Northwest
The governor of Nevada planned to declare a state of emergency late Wednesday to restrict travel on snow-covered highways. Oregon had already declared a state of emergency and opened dozens of emergency weather shelters, and at least one Oregon resident died of exposure. Two snowmobilers died in an avalanche in Yellowstone National Park on Monday. Frigid temperatures and the increased risk of avalanches have shuttered many ski resorts across the Sierra Nevada. The snowstorm, which began hitting Seattle on Sunday, is expected to last through the weekend, although temperatures are expected to rise in the coming days.
How much snow is there? Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory reported more than 8 inches of snow fell in Donner Pass in 24 hours on Wednesday. That brings the region’s monthly total to a record 17 feet of snow, accounting for 70 percent of the average annual snowfall. The last record December snow in the region was 179 inches—nearly 15 feet—when the lab started recording in 1970. Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada accounts for 30 percent of California’s yearly freshwater supply, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
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