Feb 4, 2009: U.S. energy secretary raises alarm about Sierra snowpack
In a worst case, Chu said, up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture.Feb 19, 2009: Heavy snows again block main road to Sierra ski resorts
More than 30 avalanches buried a seven-mile stretch known as the Arctic Circle beneath three to five feet of snow, Kasinga said. In two or three spots, there are snow slides 25 to 30 feet deep, she said.
Although bad weather or rock slides close the route briefly almost every year, this is the third major closure on Highway 18 since Christmas.
Down the road at Bear Valley Ski & Board Shop, there also was a noticeable lull.
"It takes us down to about half," said Stewart Malcolm. "It slows business down quite a bit, especially with ski rentals."
The two ski resorts average 75 to 80 inches of snow a year, but have 94 to 120 inches this year, Riddle said. Most of the snow has fallen in three major storms.
A December storm dropped four feet of snow, he said. A January storm brought more than two feet. And 18 to 20 inches fell Sunday and Monday, he said.