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80 mph winds topple trucks as major storm descends on Northern Nevada

Updated February 25, 2019 - 3:33 pm

RENO — Winds gusting up to 80 mph toppled trucks, downed power lines and temporarily closed part of a highway south of Reno on Monday.

Another big winter storm was blowing into the Sierra Nevada, where as much as 8 feet of snow is possible in the upper elevations above Lake Tahoe over the next three days.

At one point more than 6,000 NV Energy customers were without power in and around Reno-Sparks and Carson City, but electricity had been restored to more than half of those by Monday afternoon.

The Nevada Department of Transportation closed U.S. Interstate 580 for about an hour between Reno and Carson City after two truck trailers overturned Monday morning. One non-life threatening injury was reported.

Sustained winds up to 57 mph were recorded on bridges in the area with an 80 mph gust just north of Washoe City, the National Weather Service said.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Lake Tahoe area until 4 a.m. Thursday. The forecast calls for winds gusting in excess of 140 mph over ridgetops.

“Periods of white-out conditions are likely,” the weather service said. “Very strong winds could cause extensive tree damage.”

Two to 4 feet of snow is expected over the three days, with 4 to 8 feet possible above elevations of 7,000 feet, including where U.S. Interstate 80 crosses the top of the Sierra at Donner Pass southwest of Truckee, California.

The latest storm will be a “marathon rather than a sprint,” the service said, in terms of accumulation with several wet feet of new snow expected over top of a drier layer of powdery snow through early Thursday.

“Travel will be tough and possibly impossible at times through the Sierra with no clear break in snowfall once this begins,” the service said.

A winter weather advisory goes into effect Monday evening along the California-Nevada line from 100 miles south of Tahoe near Mammoth Lakes, California, to 100 miles north of Reno near Gerlach.

The service said the new snow load coupled with expected winds may result in unstable slope conditions in the Sierra with the potential for avalanches and “rooflanches.”

“Do not linger under eaves of buildings that have a large quantity of snow on its roof,” the service warned.

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