By Dave Bender

CAMERON PARK (CBS/AP) – A cold weather system descended on Northern California on Tuesday, bringing with it about every element imaginable: snow, hail, rain and even a tornado.

The cold system from the Gulf of Alaska dropped snow all the way down to about 1,200 feet in Cameron Park and 1,400 feet in Jamestown.

Snow flakes in Cameron Park were a welcome surprise for Trevor Herring, who said he expected rain.

“Sure enough five minutes later it starts dumping snow, and you’re like ‘holy cow,’ it was kind of cool!” he said.

“I haven’t seen snow here in two years so it’s kinda crazy too me,” Kayla Lattimer said. “But I hope it sticks because I want to see more.”

Although that snow didn’t last long, quickly melting once it touched down, there’s plenty of fresh powder dumping in the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until 11 p.m. Tuesday for the central and southern Sierra, where some areas could see as much as a foot of snow. A winter weather advisory was in effect farther north.

50-100 Vehicles Involved In Highway 49 Mess

The winter weather created plenty of driving hazards. Westbound traffic on I-80 was held at the Donner Lake interchange at noon because of multiple spinouts.

On Highway 49 near Rawhide Road in Tuolumne County near Sonora, 75-100 vehicles were involved in accidents because drivers going too fast in the snowy conditions, the CHP said.

Truck Drivers Deal With Sierra Snow

Truck drivers in the Sierra were chaining up and bracing for a long drive through the mountains.

People drive too fast and by the time they’re out of control, it’s too late,” Jon Catalano said.

“They don’t get off the shoulder and people won’t slow down when you’re trying to chain,” Steve Loyd said.
Rookie driver Bernie Porter was struggling a bit in the snow.

“It’s my third time,” she said of putting on chains. “It gets easier each time but it’s still pain in the butt.”

She’s being trained on chains because when you have about four times more tires than a normal vehicle, it can be a painful process..

“When I’m by myself I’m going to pay those monkeys to do it,” she said.

Up north in Tehama County, a weak tornado touched down near Los Molinos around 1:30 p.m., the National Weather Service said. Some structures were damaged but there were no reports of anyone injured.

The system should continue to drop snow at lower elevations before moving out by Wednesday.

The first rain showers hit the Yuba City area at around 8 a.m. The weather began to be more active by 10 to 11 a.m.

Rain totals will range from .25 to .50 of an inch, with small hail reported in Davis. Winds are coming out of the southeast at 10-20 mph, gusting up to 30 mph. High temperatures will be much cooler, topping out at about 51 degrees in Sacramento.

We will see low snow in places like Placerville, Grass Valley and Nevada City. Elevations around 2,000 feet can expect 2 to 4 inches of accumulation, with 4 to 8 inches possible around 3,000 feet, and more than a foot expected above 7,000 feet.

Most of the wet weather will taper off late Tuesday, but gusty winds will continue on Wednesday, with cool high temperatures in the 50s.


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