Avalanche Threat High In The Sierra

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) – Michelle Greer may not make it home to Truckee this Sunday night.

“I got a lot of groceries in the car. I wish I could just get home,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know when I can get home.”

It may be a long night for folks like Greer, but there is some good news: the Sierra wasn’t hit with the big monster storm they were expecting this weekend. The concern now is the threat of avalanches for people headed to the Sierra or Lake Tahoe basin.

The National Weather Service warns of a high risk of avalanches, which they say could be, “large, deep and destructive.”

“Drivers just need to stay away,” warned Kevin Taber, an engineering manager with Placer County.

His team manages the roads in the county. He says the main concern is the threat of an avalanche along Highway 89. Voluntary evacuations are already in place for areas like Alpine Meadows.

“You have a block of frozen ice, a lot of light snow on top of that, followed by heavy snow, followed by lighter snow, it’s a big layer cake that’s ready to let go and clear out anything in its path,” said Taber.

There were no reports of any avalanches near Truckee as of Sunday evening, which is good news for residents, who were bracing for up to six feet of snow this weekend.

Local hardware stores were struggling to keep up with demand for tools.

“We’re out if shovels, generators and snow blowers. We were out of batteries and lanterns last week. We stocked up, and we are out again. People are just really taking it seriously. This is winter and that’s what winter is all about,” said Steve Stevenson, the store manager at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.

But for Greer, struggling with how to get home, she has to rely on the tools of Mother Nature.

“Well, it’s a lot of snow — the most we have had in years. Unfortunately, the crews can’t keep up. Mother Nature is taking its toll right now,” said Greer.

Meanwhile, Taber’s crew is working around the clock to keep city streets clear. This weekend they are working to clear over 400 miles of roadway.

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