Thousands of residents were left without power, and life came to a standstill for many in the Sierra Nevada region on Saturday after a winter storm dumped as much as two feet of snow overnight and created treacherous conditions.

About 49,000 customers in Nevada and California were without electricity on Saturday, according to With whiteout conditions in the mountains, ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area paused operations. And highway officials shut down Interstate 80, the main artery that traverses the Sierra Nevada over Donner Summit, a key trucking route from the San Francisco Bay Area. Traffic cameras revealed semi trucks parked alongside the highway, waiting out the overnight closure.

​​California Highway Patrol said there was no estimated time of reopening the freeway.

The Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, a research station located atop Donner Summit, reported that 20.7 inches of snow had fallen by Saturday morning, and that 39.8 inches had fallen over the 48 hours leading up to it. Palisades Tahoe, a resort that closed ski area operations on Saturday across all terrain, reported 24 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.

Yosemite National Park remained closed at least through noon Sunday, park officials said.

Ed Miller, a resident of Tahoma on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, said he lost power around 10 p.m. on Friday night, before his generator kicked in a few minutes later. Mr. Miller, who has lived in the Lake Tahoe area for almost 50 years, is accustomed to power outages. He said having a generator is essential for living in the mountains, where wind gusts knock branches off trees and take down power lines on a regular basis.

In the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the huge mountain range that runs along the spine of California, forecasters rated the avalanche danger as high, and they expected avalanche hazards to worsen throughout the day because of the new snow and continued winds. Overnight on Friday, winds reached as high as 171 miles per hour.


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