RENO, NEVADA - More snow and rain pummeled the West on Thursday as the first in a series of expected storms soaked morning commuters in much of California, dumped 18 more inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada and closed schools in Oregon.
The first of three anticipated winter storms hit the Lake Tahoe area, with another 6 feet of snow possible by Monday in the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada.
Since January 1, more than 15 feet of snow has fallen at some Tahoe area resorts, the most in more than five years.
Californians endured snarled morning commutes, downed trees and heavy snow in the mountains.
A storm system dumped nearly an inch of rain on San Francisco and more than 3 inches at some locations in the Napa-Sonoma wine country. Some flights at San Francisco International Airport were delayed several hours.
In Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains, rain fell at rates of up to a half-inch an hour, and a rockslide closed canyon roads near Malibu. The Hollywood Reservoir got almost three-quarters of an inch rain.
Historic trees toppled
In Sacramento, a windstorm with gusts topping 50 mph destroyed three historic trees Wednesday night that had been planted at the California Capitol about 120 years ago to honor Civil War veterans.
The National Weather Service in San Diego warned that five-day rainfall totals would likely be substantial and that mud and debris flows could occur as heavy rains fell on wildfire burn scars east of Los Angeles.
In Phoenix, a hot-air balloon festival was canceled because of a winter storm warning. Forecasters said wind could gust to 40 mph beginning Friday night.
Grand Canyon National Park closed some roads on the South Rim because of snow and unsafe driving conditions.
The road woes were also felt to the north in Oregon. A 45-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River remained closed because of ice. Schools were closed in several districts, along with some state agency offices.
Washington transportation officials said conditions on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass had improved enough to allow crews to start cleanup efforts. Twenty to 30 trees came down onto the interstate during this week's ice storm, officials said.
In California, two more storms were expected to arrive Thursday night and Sunday.