Raging storm delays flight, shuts down highways in California

Published on : Monday, January 9, 2017

raging-stormTrees got uprooted, flights were delayed and traffic came to a standstill as a winter storm pummelled California with heavy rain and gusty winds. Two major highways across the Sierra Nevada were partially closed because of mudslides. Officials say winds with gusts of up to 60 mph have uprooted dozens of trees.

San Francisco Airport reported delays of more than four hours because of the storm.
At least two fatal accidents, possibly linked to the storm, were reported in the East Bay Sunday, including a man whose taxicab plunged into the estuary near Oakland International Airport.

According to California Highway Patrol’s Truckee office, all westbound lanes of Interstate 80 near Donner Lake Road in Donner Lake have been closed indefinitely, while the California Department of Transportation said the westbound lanes of Highway 50 near Kyburz were also blocked.

The storm has already left a woman dead in San Ramon, Calif., and prompted residents in southern Reno to evacuate 400 homes affecting about 1,300 residents, officials said.

The storm could last through Thursday, with a 100% chance of rain at times, according to the National Weather Service. And park officials said visitors need to be prepared for additional road hazards throughout the week.

Officials urged residents to avoid driving through standing water and stay off rural roads, where rescues could be difficult.

Crews cleared trees, rocks and debris following mudslides caused by steady rain accompanying the system that could dump 15 inches in foothill areas when it’s done. Several feet of snow are expected in the Sierra Nevada.

There were mudslides and flooding throughout Northern California that led to road closures Sunday, especially in the North Bay, one of the areas hardest hit and where the Napa River jumped its banks.

More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated in Reno as much of the Sierra’s eastern front braces for the worst flooding in a decade.

Emergency officials say residents voluntarily evacuated a total of 1,300 homes in a south Reno neighborhood Sunday as the Truckee River began to leave its banks and drainage ditches started to overflow south of Interstate 80.

The National Weather Service says the storm that has already dropped several inches of rain in the area is tracking pretty much as they expected.

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