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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snow storm batters U.S. from Seattle to New York causing chaos on roads... but great ski weather for Californians

Late winter storms forced school and road closures from Seattle to upstate New York on Wednesday, but the snow was welcomed in California as it suffers through one of the driest winters in history.

The blast from the Gulf of Alaska was expected to bring up to 5 feet of snow at the highest elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada, delighting skiers and the 28million Californians who depend on snowmelt to meet their water needs.

‘It's a pretty typical storm, it's just not typical this year,’ said Johnnie Powell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

Officials issued avalanche warnings in the high Sierra mountains as the storm that began in earnest just after midnight was supposed to keep hammering the Lake Tahoe area, the northeast part of the state and the counties surrounding Yosemite National Park well into Thursday.

High winds, intense snowfall and a weak snowpack combined to create dangerous conditions, the Sierra Avalanche Center advisory said.

It urged skiers to stay out of avalanche terrain and off some steep slopes. Read More