Updated Mar 3, 2024 - Energy & Environment

In photos: Sierra Nevada hit with ferocious blizzard

Person pushes a cart full of groceries during a winter storm

A blizzard on March 2 hits Mammoth Lakes, California. A blizzard warnings remained in effect for the popular tourist destination a day later. Photo: David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images

A blizzard warning was in effect until midnight Sunday for parts of the Sierra, as the massive winter storm disrupts travel in portions of California and Nevada.

The big picture: The "potentially life-threatening" blizzard which began slamming parts of the Sierra Nevada on Thursday was gradually waning on Sunday evening ahead of another storm expected on Monday night.

State of play: This storm has brought relentless hurricane-force winds to the Sierra, knocking out power, creating whiteout conditions and shutting down Interstate 80 for well over 24 hours.

  • The blizzard warning in the area was no longer in effect Sunday evening and the California Highway Patrol noted in a post to X that "it's still heavily snowing over Donner Summit with high winds at times" and there was "no estimated time of reopening the freeway."
  • Many peaks saw staggering wind gusts. At the Palisades Tahoe ski resort, gusts were reported as high as 190 mph, with numerous gusts well above 100 mph at other locations.

Between the lines: The blizzard's ferocity and prolific snow totals can be traced to a slow-moving area of low pressure off the northern coast of California, which tapped into moisture and jet stream winds blowing up and over the Sierra.

The scene in Truckee, California, on March 3. The National Weather Service said the blizzard warning would remain in effect until midnight Sunday for areas above 6,500 feet.
The scene in Truckee, California, on March 3. The National Weather Service said the blizzard warning would remain in effect until midnight Sunday for areas above 6,500 feet. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
A vehicle makes its way on a section of Interstate 80 which remains closed due to snow during a powerful multiple day winter storm in the Sierra Nevada mountains on March 03, 2024 in Truckee, California.
A vehicle on Interstate 80 on March 3, which closed due to snow. A winter storm warning was in effect for elevation above 3,000 feet, the NWS said, and it anticipated another 1-2 feet of snow above 4,000 feet. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Person uses a snowblower during a winter storm
The scene in Truckee, California, north of Lake Tahoe on March 2, where blizzard warnings remained in effect on March 3. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
A truck is rolled over as high winds hit US Route 395 near Big Pine, Californa, on March 3, 2024. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for California's entire Sierra Nevada range through early March 3, 2024. Forecasts report the storm could bring three to five inches (8 to 13cms) of snow per hour.
A truck is rolled over as high winds hit U.S. Route 395 near Big Pine, California, on March 3. Photo: David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images
 People walk along Donner Pass Road as snow continues to fall in downtown Truckee, Calif., on Saturday, March 2, 2024.
The scene along Donner Pass Road in downtown Truckee, California, on March 2. The U.C. Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reported on March 3 that 23.8" of snow had fallen in 24 hours. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images
A blue car is buried in snow
A car is left buried on March 2 as a blizzard hits Mammoth Lakes, California, where key roads were closed due to heavy snow over the weekend. Photo: David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images
The moon appears over a peak in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
The moon sets over a peak in the Sierra Nevada mountain range during a blizzard in Big Pine, California, on March 3. Photo: David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: Sierra Nevada braces for up to 12 feet of snow from "potent" California blizzard

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper