Parts of California get a White Christmas after snowfall

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FILE – Motorists navigate downtown Grass Valley, Calif.’s roadways during an early morning snowfall, on, Dec. 14, 2021. Forecasters said Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, that another round of widespread rain and heavy snow in the mountains is shaping up for recently drenched California and much of Nevada in the coming week and could create hazards for holiday travelers. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Parts of California are getting a White Christmas after all, with snowfall pounding mountains across the state.

Other areas of California, however, saw a wet and rainy Christmas as storms continue to drench the state, causing flash flooding and evacuations in some areas over the holiday period.

A 70-mile (113-kilometer) stretch of interstate over the top of the Sierra Nevada was closed Saturday when a storm that dropped nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow on some ski resorts around Lake Tahoe overnight got a second wind.

Interstate 80 connecting Reno, Nevada, to Sacramento, California, over the Sierra was closed in both directions due to poor visibility from the Nevada-California state line to Colfax, California.

“The worst part of the storm is here so expect long delays,” the California Highway Patrol in Truckee tweeted Saturday afternoon.

Friday night into Saturday, 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow fell at Homewood on Tahoe’s west shore. About a foot (30 centimeters) was reported at Northstar near Truckee, California and 10 inches (25 centimeters) at the Mount Rose ski resort on the southwest edge of Reno.

At Donner Pass in the Sierra, which is along the closed interstate, officials with the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory wondered on Twitter if the recent snowfall could break the snowiest December record of 179 inches (4.6 meters) set in 1970.

There’s been at least 119 inches (3 meters) recorded so far this month , according to The Mercury News, with more expected over the next 72 hours.

The snowpack in the Sierra was at dangerously low levels after recent weeks of dry weather but the state Department of Water Resources reported on Christmas Eve that the snowpack was between 114% and 137% of normal across the range with more snow expected.

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