Storm warms up valleys |

Storm warms up valleys

Jo Rafferty

Students at Douglas County lakeside schools no doubt awoke with a smile before dawn on Tuesday when their parents informed them it was a snow day.

Snow had been falling since the middle of the night and continued to drift down throughout the morning in Stateline, averaging about a foot by noon.

On the mountain highways, very early in the morning things were pretty quiet on the roads, according to a Nevada Highway Patrol official, but during commute hours all that changed.

“The spin-outs really picked up at 6:30 or 7,” said spokesman Chuck Allen. “Once the commuters came out, the numbers really went up.”

Allen said no accidents had been reported on the highways although there were many calls for service on Kingsbury Grade and Spooner Summit.

“We’ve had numerous spin-outs,” he said. “Anywhere over 5,000 feet has been ugly this morning.”

The Nevada Department of Transportation Web site predictions for snow in Gardnerville had never materialized.

“Down in the valley it is actually good news,” said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder.

Magruder said that although there was no rain or snow on Tuesday, melting snow could also cause a hazard.

“What we’re concerned with is there’s a lot of water on the roadways,” he said. “Motorists have to watch for black ice.”

Precipitation levels were at 100 percent at Lake Tahoe and 80 percent in Gardnerville.

Chains or snow tires were required Tuesday morning on both 207 and Highway 50 summits.

Magruder said the department of transportation had been clearing the highways all night and applying a 5-1 sand and salt mixture.

With the storm came much warmer air after a week that rarely saw temperatures climb above freezing during the day and lows dropped into single digits on several days.