Dust Storm Triggers 20-Vehicle Crash on Highway in Bakersfield

There were no serious injuries.

The first winter-like storm of the season brought rain and snow to California on Monday, triggering traffic accidents including a 20-vehicle crash in the southern San Joaquin Valley when gusts ahead of the front whipped up dust.

The big collision happened shortly after 12 p.m. on the southbound State Route 99 a few miles south of Bakersfield, said California Highway Patrol Scott Jobinger.

Traffic was backed up for three miles.

Five people with minor injuries were taken to hospitals, Kern County Fire Department spokesman Tyler Townsend said. There were no serious injuries.

The cold front from the Pacific Northwest dropped nearly an inch of rain by midday on some cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Power outages and traffic accidents were widespread across the region.

Much of the interior of Central California was also receiving "a good rain drenching" while the precipitation was falling as snow at elevations above 7,000 feet, the National Weather Service said.


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Stormy weather also dumped rain across most of northern Nevada, caused temporary power outages around Reno and Lake Tahoe and triggered a strong wind advisory as far south as Las Vegas.

Chains or snow tires were required on most mountain highways around Lake Tahoe. Three to four inches of snow were reported at the Mount Rose Ski Resort near Reno, and the National Weather Service said there could be as much as 2 feet of snow above 8,500 feet before the storm moves off.

In California's mountains, storm warnings for heavy snow, with accumulations from 6 inches to 19 inches, were in effect until late night for the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon. Snow levels were expected to fall to 5,000 feet by early evening.

Snow in the Sierra is vital to drought-stricken California, which significantly relies on a winter snowpack to feed reservoirs.

The storm also brought risk of trouble to areas hit hard by wildfires earlier this year. Flash flood warnings were posted in Yolo, Lake and Colusa counties, where heavy rain had the potential to unleash debris flows from burn areas, the weather service said.

Among other accidents, the California Highway Patrol reported that a big rig carrying a load of frozen chickens overturned on westbound Highway 580 in Livermore.

It was not immediately known if the driver was injured.

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