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Blizzard in Sierra Nevada forces closure of ski areas

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A rare blizzard sent its final flurries of snow and high winds through California’s Sierra Nevada on Sunday, keeping some major roads closed and shutting down ski resorts from Lake Tahoe to Mammoth.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area was closed as powerful winds of up to 70 mph, with higher gusts, whipped through the mountains, blowing snow.

“It is still far too windy to operate and allow Lift Maintenance to safely complete their checks or Ski Patrol to complete their necessary avalanche mitigation,” Mammoth Mountain said on its website.

The blizzard dumped 5 to 7 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada over the weekend. The National Weather Service in Sacramento said a rare blizzard warning would remain in effect until midnight Sunday for areas above 6,500 feet elevation, while other parts of the Sierra Nevada were under a winter storm warning.

Snow continued to fall across the mountains on Sunday, with an additional 1 to 2 feet of snow forecast in areas above 4,000 feet elevation.

A snowplow is used to clear a road during a storm in Truckee on Saturday.

A snowplow is used to clear a road during a storm in Truckee on Saturday.

(Brooke Hess-Homeier / Associated Press)

The heavy snow led to several road closures over the weekend. U.S. Highway 50 reopened on Sunday morning, allowing vehicles with chains to reach the South Lake Tahoe area.

Just west of Echo Summit on Highway 50, a few vehicles were temporarily stuck in several feet of snow that slid off the mountainside onto the road, said Steve Nelson, a spokesperson for the California Department of Transportation. He said a crew towed the vehicles out, and no one was injured.

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On the north side of Lake Tahoe, Interstate 80 remained closed due to snow for a third day.

And in the Eastern Sierra, U.S. Highway 395 was closed in Mono County, where Caltrans crews were working to clear the snow.

Even as the blizzard conditions began to ease, the National Weather Service urged people to avoid driving in the mountains.

“Winds can get up to 45 miles an hour at those higher elevations, and with snow still falling, that causes really dangerous travel conditions,” said Sara Purdue, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “We’re highly discouraging travel to the mountain areas still.”

Snow covers the landscape in front of a store in Truckee on Saturday.

Snow covers the landscape in front of a store in Truckee, Calif. The biggest storm of the season shut down a long stretch of Interstate 80 and gusty winds and heavy rain hit lower elevations, leaving tens of thousands of homes without power.

(Brooke Hess-Homeier / Associated Press)

Another approaching storm is expected to bring more snow on Monday and Tuesday in the Sierra Nevada.

“It won’t be quite as impactful as this system. But we’re still looking at potentially multiple feet of snow at higher elevations,” Perdue said.

The snow and high winds made for hazardous or unworkable conditions at various ski resorts. At Palisades Tahoe, all ski lifts were closed Sunday because of “intense weather conditions.”

Sierra-at-Tahoe said on its website that “the storm’s intensity did not let up — in fact it doubled down overnight,” with winds piling up deep snowdrifts that workers were in the process of clearing.

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South of Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort said it opened some of its ski lifts after initially putting them on hold to ensure safety.

The blizzard arrived with extremely powerful wind gusts, which reached up to 190 mph at one location Friday night. The National Weather Service said wind gusts stronger than 100 mph were expected in parts of the Sierra through early Monday.

An avalanche warning was in effect in the Eastern Sierra. The National Weather Service warned people against going into backcountry areas — such as those thinking of cross-country skiing or snowmobiling — saying strong winds will “continue to overload the snowpack, which contains buried weak layers,” making for very dangerous avalanche conditions.

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Yellen Sees ‘Still Work to be Done’ as China Talks Conclude Without Progress

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After four days of high-level economic discussions between the United States and China, no major breakthroughs were achieved. The talks, which ended in Beijing on Monday, focused on addressing rising tensions over trade, investment, and national security. Despite the lack of significant progress, both countries agreed to continue discussions to work towards resolving their differences.

However, the road ahead seems challenging as the political climate adds complexity to the economic dialogue. With the United States heading into an election year and growing anti-China sentiment, finding common ground becomes even more daunting. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen’s efforts to persuade China to reduce its export of green energy technology, which could impact American jobs, did not yield immediate results.

During her visit to China, Yellen met with key officials including the governor of the People’s Bank of China and Vice Premier He Lifeng. The discussions focused on fostering balanced growth and addressing concerns about China’s exports distorting global markets. While the meetings were cordial, it was evident that building trust between the two nations remains a significant challenge.

In a press conference following the talks, Yellen emphasized the need for more work to be done to strengthen the relationship between the two economic powerhouses. She acknowledged the uncertainties ahead and the complexities that lie in the future of US-China relations.

One of the major sticking points in the discussions was the concern over Chinese exports of electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and solar panels. The Biden administration is grappling with how to address these issues, given the potential threat they pose to American industries. Yellen urged China to focus on domestic consumption and warned against disrupting global supply chains with excessive exports.

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China has denied allegations of subsidizing its exports and raised objections to what it views as unfair protectionism from other countries. The clash over trade policies and economic strategies is likely to escalate in the coming months as both sides seek to protect their respective industries.

Amidst the trade tensions, concerns over national security further complicate the dialogue between the US and China. With increasing scrutiny on Chinese access to American technology and markets, the Biden administration is navigating delicate issues such as restrictions on Chinese companies like ByteDance and the ownership of TikTok.

While the discussions did not result in immediate breakthroughs, both countries expressed a desire to avoid escalating trade hostilities. The prospect of additional tariffs looms large as tensions persist, but efforts to prevent further deterioration in the trade relationship continue.

As calls for decoupling the two economies grow louder, Yellen emphasized the importance of maintaining a level of economic integration between the US and China. Despite the challenges and differences, she underscored the mutual interest in preserving the interconnectedness of the two economies.

Siyi Zhao contributed reporting from Seoul.

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