- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A powerful Sierra storm packing hurricane-force winds ahead of a stream of rain and snow sent huge trees crashing into power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people without power much of Friday along the range’s eastern front stretching about 100 miles from south of Carson City to north of Reno.

No deaths were reported, but at least a dozen people were hurt in crashes on Nevada highways where dust storms blinded drivers and several trucks overturned.

Winds gusting up to 134 mph over ridge tops early Friday closed several ski resorts around Lake Tahoe, snapped dozens of trees more than 2 feet thick, downed power lines and sparked a series of small brush fires.

There were no immediate reports of injuries beyond those in the traffic accidents. But there were numerous reports of property damage ranging from roofs blown off barns to broken windows and bent garage doors.

Nearly 20,000 people in northern Nevada were still without power at 7 p.m. - more than half of those in Douglas County south of Carson City, NV Energy said.

Another 10,000 had no power in Susanville, about 60 miles northwest of Reno, and about 3,000 were without it on Tahoe’s north shore at Truckee, California, where firefighters extinguished a small brush fire sparked at a power substation earlier in the day.

One barn lost its roof south of Carson City near Gardnerville, where winds gusted up to 90 mph Friday afternoon and a trampoline landed in an elementary school parking lot.

“I’ve lived her 32 years and never seen it like this,” Robert Winter, of Gardnerville Ranchos, told The Record Courier. “This is the worst.”

A power pole fell on a car in Carson City, a 30-inch diameter tree was blown onto a house in South Lake Tahoe, California, and an outbuilding was split in half when a 2-foot thick pine tree was uprooted about 60 miles northwest of Reno in Graeagle, California, the National Weather Service said.

Rain moved in Friday afternoon and 3 inches of snow was reported Friday evening at South Lake Tahoe.

The California Highway Patrol closed a stretch of Interstate 80 from Truckee to Kingvale near where the highway tops the Sierra at Donner Pass after a number of spin-outs were reported late Friday afternoon. The patrol had no immediate information about possible injuries there.

East of Reno, a stretch of U.S. Highway 95A was closed near the Lyon County fairgrounds after nine people were hospitalized with unknown injuries in a crash that involved at least eight vehicles, the Mason Valley News reported.

The Nevada Highway Patrol also said three people were hospitalized with minor injuries after five cars crashed on U.S. 395 north of Reno near the California line.


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