Snow from a series of deadly storms slamming California this week was so heavy it upended a jet at an airport in the Sierra Nevada on Wednesday, as “life-threatening” blizzard conditions are expected to slam the region through Thursday.
The Truckee Tahoe Airport said in a Facebook post that over 16 inches of heavy “Sierra Cement” snow fell from Tuesday night into Wednesday and pushed the tail of a Cessna Citation X plane close to the ground.
“It actually tilted relatively slowly,” Aviation & Community Outreach Services Manager Marc Lamb told the Sierra Sun. “Those aircraft, the engines are huge on them on the back, and last night we had blizzard-force winds plus that heavy snow.
“It just tilted it up.”
The plane’s nose was stuck in the air for much of the day until crews were eventually able to get the aircraft level by Wednesday afternoon, according to FOX40.
Lamb told the Sierra Sun the 73-foot aircraft wasn’t totaled by the incident. “It might need some repair work, but it will again be flyable,” he said.
More snow is expected to fall through the region on Thursday, with totals reaching up to five feet. Avalanches were also a possibility in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada, where winds could gust to 125 mph on ridgetops. The National Weather Service’s Reno office said in a forecast discussion that “Sierra Cement” refers to heavy, wet snow that, when packed down, can create avalanche dangers in higher elevations.
“This is a life-threatening situation,” the weather service warned.
“In addition to the heavy snow, heavy rain will also fall across the lower elevations, with most of it happening through Thursday evening,” the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center said.
“A moderate risk of rainfall has been issued for a small area in southern California, particularly where the burn scars exist in the Los Angeles region.”
The storms slamming the Golden State has taken a deadly turn after at least two people have been killed.
A homeless man in his 40s, who may have been trying to shelter under some trees near a freeway in Oakland, was killed Wednesday when a 30-foot tree crushed him, KTVU reported.
California Highway Patrol Eli Davis told the televisions station the area where the man died was clearly marked and fenced off.
“No one is allowed to be back there and this is one of the reasons why,” he said.
In Napa County, one person died when a car went out of control on a wet roadway and struck another vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said.
Heavy snowfall, multiple spin-outs, and a jack-knifed big rig forced the closing of Interstate 80 at the Nevada border.
The CHP said a tractor-trailer jack-knifed on eastbound 80, prompting the closure about 85 miles east of Sacramento.
Tens of thousands of people were without electricity in Pacific Gas & electric areas, including more than 15,000 in San Jose alone late Wednesday night.