By Scott Sonner
RENO — Dangerous winds in the Sierra toppled a semi-trailer truck, downed power lines and closed a stretch of highway in Southern California on Monday ahead of a winter storm expected to bring up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow to mountain tops around Lake Tahoe.
U.S. Highway 6 was closed due to downed power lines south of Yosemite National Park near Bishop, California. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries after a tractor trailer flipped on U.S. Highway 395 near Pearsonville about 150 miles (241 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.
The road was later reopened.
A wind gust of 94 mph (151 kph) was reported Monday morning at Mammoth Lakes Airport.
Strong winds ahead of a storm front were blamed for driving a brushfire in Los Padres National Forest, northwest of Los Angeles. The fire quickly spread over thousands of acres of dry, brushy canyons and evacuations were called for some streets in the Goleta foothill area.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Tahoe area until 4 p.m. Thursday. Eight to 18 inches (20 to 45 centimeters) of snow was possible at lake level with winds gusting as high as 60 mph (96 kph).
Snow also was forecast across most of central Nevada and as far south as the mountains around Las Vegas.
Snow totals could reach 3 feet (91 centimeters) by Thanksgiving Day along the Sierra Crest, the weather service said.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the service said. “If you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday … finish your travels by midday Tuesday.”
A winter-weather advisory ran to 4 p.m. Wednesday for areas the Reno and Carson City areas, where 5 inches (13 centimeters) of snow is possible.
Most of central and east-central Nevada was under a winter storm watch late Tuesday through Wednesday night, with 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) of snow possible in upper elevations and 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) below.
In southern Nevada, a winter storm watch is in effect until late Friday night, with 8 to 24 inches (20 to 60 centimeters) of snow possible in the Sheep Range in Lincoln County, and the Spring Mountains-Red Rock Canyon west of Las Vegas.