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Interstates closed in record-breaking snow season in Sierra Nevada

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KION-TV) — The main highway from San Francisco to Reno remains closed for a third day due to record-setting snow in the Lake Tahoe area after a winter storm blasted across northern California and Nevada.

The Sierra broke a 51-year-old record. UC Berkley's Central Snow Lab said the new snowfall record for December is 193.7 inches. This beats the previous record of 179 inches that was set in 1970.

The Interstate 80 was shut down Sunday from the Nevada state line to Placer County, California.

Caltrans reponed I-80 eastbound Tuesday night, but for passenger vehicles and essential commercial vehicles only. Highway 50 to South Lake Tahoe is also open as of noon, but Caltrans said it's at full capacity. They're advising people to stay home and not travel through the area.

Caltrans in Northern California reported Tuesday morning that the road is too narrow in some areas, which means emergency personnel can't get through if there is a crash.

The City of South Lake Tahoe also released a statement advising only essential travel into the South Lake Tahoe basin.

"Due to the restrictive roadways, a number of resources are at or near capacity, including gas, tow trucks, and lodging accommodations," the city said. "Anyone on the road risks getting stranded, either from the road conditions or running out of fuel or electric charge, requiring emergency or other assistance."

On Monday, an avalanche shut down Highway 89 near Tahoe City hampering search efforts for a missing Northstar skier.

READ MORE: Lake Tahoe tourists snowed in as winter storm forces closure of I-80, Highway 50

Mt. Diablo was closed because of the snow and a winter weather advisory was in effect for the higher elevations of Mendocino County.

According to National Weather Service, Downtown San Francisco has the potential to drop below 40 degrees Tuesday morning. The last time this happened was Jan. 6, 2017, when the minimum temperature was 39 degrees.

READ MORE: Skier missing amid blizzard conditions at Tahoe-area resort

See details of road closures in the map below:

This article was updated Dec. 28 at 10:30 p.m. to include that I-80 and Highway 50 reopened.

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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Director for and


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