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October 23, 2012
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Snow hits mountains, tornadoes hit valley

The first significant snowstorm of the winter dropped up to 2 feet of snow along parts of the Sierra Nevada crest this week and whipped up a record-tying number of tornadoes elsewhere in the state.

South Lake Tahoe received several inches of snow overnight, with much more falling at higher elevations.

As of Tuesday evening, Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort was reporting 2 feet of snow had fallen. Kirkwood Mountain Resort was reporting 22 inches had fallen at the resort's summit and 16 inches had dropped at the area's base.

Heavenly Mountain Resort received between 14 and 18 inches of snow since Sunday night, according to a statement from the resort.

Heavenly began snowmaking at the top of the gondola, California Trail and Orion's Run Monday and is slated to open for the 2012-13 ski season Nov. 16, conditions permitting. Kirkwood has a planned opening of Nov. 21, while Sierra will open as conditions allow.

Although milder conditions are expected to return later this week, a winter weather advisory is in effect through 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service in Reno is predicting an additional 4 to 8 inches of snow above 7,000 feet, with 2 to 6 inches at lower elevations. The heaviest snow is expected early Wednesday morning and afternoon. Southwest winds between 15 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph are also predicted. Wind speeds could hit 60 mph over mountain ridges, according to the weather service.

Motorists are warned of hazardous travel conditions and should slow down and use caution, according to the advisory.

Mostly sunny skies with highs in the 50s are expected Friday through Tuesday.

As snow fell in the mountains, five tornadoes touched down across Northern California Monday and tied a single-day record dating to 1996, according to the weather service.

The tornadoes damaged dozens of homes and a handful of commercial buildings across an 80-mile swath of the northern Central Valley stretching from south of Sacramento to near Oroville, then toppled trees in the Sierra Nevada foothills north of Auburn. No injuries were reported.

A tornado with peak gusts up to 100 mph touched down intermittently for more than two miles south of Yuba City, knocking down fences and trees. The weather service classified it and a twister in Elk Grove, south of Sacramento, as weak tornadoes.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 23, 2012 08:29PM Published Oct 23, 2012 08:27PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.