LOS ANGELES — Parts of California are getting a White Christmas after all, with snowfall pounding mountains across the state.
Other areas of California, however, saw a wet and rainy Christmas as storms continue to drench the state, causing flash flooding and evacuations in some areas over the holiday period.
A 113-kilometer stretch of interstate highway over the top of the Sierra Nevada was closed Saturday when a storm that dropped nearly 60 centimeters of snow on some ski resorts around Lake Tahoe overnight got a second wind.
Interstate 80, which connects Reno, Nevada, to Sacramento, California, over the Sierra, was closed in both directions because of poor visibility from the Nevada-California state line to Colfax, California.
“The worst part of the storm is here, so expect long delays,” the California Highway Patrol in Truckee tweeted Saturday afternoon.
Friday night into Saturday, 50 centimeters of snow fell at Homewood on Tahoe’s west shore. About 30 centimeters was reported at Northstar near Truckee, California, and 25 centimeters at the Mount Rose ski resort on the southwest edge of Reno.
At Donner Pass in the Sierra, which is along the closed interstate, officials with the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory speculated on Twitter if the recent snowfall would break the snowiest December record of 4.6 meters set in 1970.
There’s been at least 3 meters recorded so far this month, according to The Mercury News, with more expected in the next 72 hours.
The snowpack in the Sierra was at dangerously low levels after recent weeks of dry weather, but the state Department of Water Resources reported on Christmas Eve that the snowpack was between 114% and 137% of normal across the range with more snow expected.
The Los Angeles area is likely to see rain and mountain snow for the next week, according to the National Weather Service, with temperatures significantly below normal through the middle of the week.