Meanwhile, a 70-mile stretch of Interstate Highway 80, which was shut Christmas Day, also remained closed Sunday from Colfax in north central California to the Nevada border due to “zero visibility” caused by the storm, officials announced.
Caltrans officials posted a brief video to show the dangerous conditions on I-80.
The California Highway Patrol also posted an I-80 white-out video Saturday.
The two highways are the key routes between the Lake Tahoe ski resorts close to the Nevada border and the San Francisco Bay area. Other sections of state highways have also been closed, along with a number of ski resorts.
On the border at Reno, Nevada, weather officials warned Sunday in a tweet: “If you have the luxury of staying home and not having to drive today, take advantage. Currently gusting to 52 mph and a wind chill of 6 degrees at the office. It’s very icy out with dangerous driving conditions.”
A 20-car pileup in Nevada closed Highway 395 in Washoe County on Sunday. California firefighters assisting in the accident called weather conditions “extreme.”
The National Weather Service on Sunday issued a continued winter storm warning for the Sierra Nevada to Tuesday morning with “difficult to impossible travel conditions.” Meteorologists predicted up to eight feet of snow over the mountains in that time.
Travelers were advised to pack tire chains, warm winter clothes and extra food and water.
While dangerous, the snow is good news for California’s long-running drought. The state in October recorded its driest year in nearly a century.
The snowpack in the Sierra was at dangerously low levels, but the state Department of Water Resources reported Friday that it was between 114% and 137% of normal across the range with more snow expected.
In other bad news in the state, Highway 1 in southern California was closed due to a rock slide.