A potent atmospheric river barreled ashore in Northern California, bringing downpours that threaten to unleash destructive debris flows from wildfire burn scars as well as heavy snow from blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada.
The National Weather Service issued a rare blizzard warning for Lake Tahoe and much of the Sierra, forecasting up to 6 feet (2 meters) of snow falling on upper elevations and winds in excess of 100 miles per hour (160 kilomters per hour) over ridgetops. Snow could be seen falling in the area late Tuesday night.
Describing it as a potential “life-threatening situation,” the warning was to be in effect from 10 p.m. PST Tuesday (0600 GMT Wednesday) through 4 a.m. (1200GMT) Friday for the Tahoe area as far south as Mammoth Lakes, California.
A warning was also issued for widespread high avalanche danger on the eastern slopes of the Sierra because of heavy snow combining with wind from before dawn Wednesday through Friday morning.