Winter storm wallops Western, Northwestern U.S.

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | 1/9/2017

What’s being described as the biggest winter storm in a decade is bringing heavy rain and heavy snow to northern California and other parts of the west.

At noon central time on Monday, the westbound lanes of Interstate 80 in California remained closed from the Nevada state line to Colfax due to a mudslide.

Eastbound I-80 was open, but chains were required.

In Oregon, Interstate 84 near Ontario was reopened after what the state DOT called “extreme weather” shut it down earlier in the morning.

Jason McConty is a chef at the Love’s truck stop in Ontario.

“We’re supposed to get another storm today, and if that hits it’s going to get even crazier,” he told Land Line Now on Monday morning. “This is the worst winter we’ve seen in 20 years.”

In Nevada, flooding in the Reno and Sparks area prompted the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

Up to 15 inches of rain was expected to fall in areas of the west with heavy snow and high winds at higher elevations.

One casualty of the storm system in California was the giant sequoia known as “the tunnel tree.” The tree was carved out at the base so that cars could drive through it. A combination of wet ground and winds toppled the tree over weekend. It was thought to be at least a thousand years old.

The front is headed east, slowly. The National Weather Service has a long-duration winter storm warning for Montana, Idaho, northern Nevada, western Wyoming through Wednesday night for some parts. The front is expected to deliver multiple periods of moderate to heavy snow in some areas and substantial freezing rain in others.

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