Heavy snow in Reno-Tahoe area

RENO, NV 02/25/08

A 70-mile section of Interstate 80 over the Sierra Nevada was closed again late Sunday afternoon because of zero visibility, said a dispatcher for the California Department of Transportation.

Similar conditions also forced a closure of the interstate for more than four hours earlier in the day.

It was slow going for mountain motorists throughout the day because of the storm, said Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger. Numerous minor accidents were reported.

South of Lake Tahoe, Highway 88 over Carson Pass was closed for nearly 2 1/2 hours Sunday after a small avalanche trapped two vehicles at about 8:30 a.m., Dinger said.

Crews freed the vehicles from the slide, and no injuries were reported.

A section of Highway 88 over the nearby Carson Spur was closed throughout the day because of avalanche-control activities, authorities said.

When the trans-Sierra highways were open, chains were mandatory. Chains or snow tires were required on other highways around Lake Tahoe and along portions of the eastern Sierra.

Wind gusts of up to 109 mph were reported Sunday along the Sierra crest near Lake Tahoe, according to the National Weather Service.

Searchers rescued a missing snowboarder on Saturday night near Truckee, Placer County Sheriff Edward Bonner said.

Thomas Groh, 17, of Novato, Calif., was reported missing late Saturday afternoon by friends after he was last seen on a run at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort.

He was found in good condition outside the resort's boundaries at about 10:30 p.m. after contacting rescuers with his cell phone and giving a general idea of his whereabouts, Bonner said.

"(Searchers) found tracks in the snow, ultimately finding Groh," the sheriff said.

The Kirkwood ski resort south of Lake Tahoe reported up to 30 inches of snow over a 24-hour period ending Sunday afternoon, while the Mt. Rose resort above Reno reported up to 29 inches of snow over a similar period ending Sunday morning.

The storm also dumped heavy snow along the eastern Sierra, including up to 12 inches in Carson City and 9 inches in Reno.

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