The first two floors of this three-story apartment building near Palisades Tahoe were completely engulfed by an avalanche Tuesday night, and while everyone inside was rescued, avalanche orders remain in effect in parts of the Lake Tahoe area.
We mentioned earlier today that hundreds of drivers are stranded in the snow in Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe, as heavy snow continues to pummel the high-altitude California-Nevada border. One of those high-altitude areas is the unincorporated Placer County community of Olympic Valley (formerly known as Squaw Valley) near the Palisades Tahoe ski resort. And according to KTVU, an Olympic Valley apartment building was engulfed in an avalanche Tuesday night, completely covering the bottom two floors of the three-floor apartment complex.
“Around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, an avalanche struck an occupied three-story apartment building in Olympic Valley,” the Placer County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. “Fortunately, all occupants were uninjured and able to evacuate the building with help from fire crews. The avalanche was approximately 200 yards wide and 25 feet deep and engulfed the bottom two stories of the building.”
#TrafficAlert State Route 267 closed in both directions Northstar Rd to Kings Beach. No ETO. @PlacerCA https://t.co/HS687UyWxf pic.twitter.com/mtQq0VcTJk— Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) February 28, 2023
Sheriff’s deputies and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue crews assisted used K-9s to search and make sure there were no additional victims in the avalanche. A temporary evacuation center was established at the Community Recreation Center on 10981 Truckee Way, and many residents are still not allowed to return to their homes.
Deputies are on snowmobiles checking on residents due to heavy snowfall. I-80 E is still shut down at Applegate; I-80 shut down in both directions, and NO ALTERNATE ROUTES. #cawx #snow #PCSO #PlacerCounty pic.twitter.com/P1rY43ljHa— Placer Sheriff (@PlacerSheriff) February 28, 2023
According to KTVU, the Sierra Avalanche Center “drew a map around the Tahoe and El Dorado national forests, putting it in red, showing that the region is in high danger.” Additional Placer County areas that have been evacuated include Shirley Canyon Road to Granite Chief Road, Sandy Way from Wayne Road to Navajo Court, Summit Peak Road, and Summer Place.
⛔CLOSED: Applegate(127) to Verdi(205)— Interstate 80 Tahoe (@i80chains) March 1, 2023
🔗EAST: Applegate(127) to NV Stateline- Gold Ranch(207)
🔗WEST: Floriston On-ramp(197) to Applegate - End of Control(127)
As seen above, some parts of I-80 are still closed, others have chain requirements in effect as of Wednesday morning. Things may be cleared out in time for weekend travel to Tahoe ski resorts, but as of Wednesday morning, a drive to Lake Tahoe would not be well-advised.
Related: Hundreds Stranded In Snow On I-80 [SFist]
Image: @PlacerSheriff via Twitter