Strong winds in the Sierra caused multiple power outages and shut down two Lake Tahoe ski resorts Tuesday.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning through 7 p.m. Tuesday for the Lake Tahoe area, where gusts in excess of 130 mph were possible over the top of Sierra ridges.
Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts announced they would not open Tuesday due to the winds. The strongest gust — 108 mph — was reported about 7 a.m. further south at Mammoth Mountain.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported that a tree limb fell on a house in South Lake Tahoe, California, overnight and about 1,300 residences were without power around the lake.
NV Energy said on its website about 1,200 homes and businesses were without power Tuesday morning in northern Nevada.
The Utah Division of Transportation and Washington County received approval to build a four-lane highway that would pass through the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, a protected Mojave desert tortoise habitat in southern Utah.
President Trump’s administration granted the approval Thursday, marking the end of a nearly two-year review of the highway’s environmental impact, The Spectrum reported Friday.
The highway will help ease traffic congestion in the region, but has drawn criticism from conservationists because it would run through land set aside to protect the tortoise and other animals.
“We’ve been expecting this for a year-and-a-half,” said Tom Butine, president of Conserve Southwest Utah. “We knew that no matter what we did through this NEPA process that the fix was in.”
Conserve Southwest Utah and a dozen other environmental groups argued the decision ignores federal laws and sets a dangerous precedent for other environmental efforts. The groups had expected the Trump administration to approve the project before the president left office.
The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will not have the power to overturn the decision outright, but could undo it if there are errors in the environmental review. Butine said that would be “pretty easy to do.” It is unclear if Biden will attempt to undo the decision.
Preliminary numbers show that hunters had record bear seasons in Vermont and New Hampshire last year, in part because of a surge in the number of hunters brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, state officials said.
In Vermont, hunters took 914 bears during the early and late bear seasons, with most taken in the early season, the state Fish and Wildlife Department said. That beats the record of 750 bears taken in 2019.
“It was a poor year for natural bear foods, and we saw a surge in hunter numbers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and perhaps a corresponding increase in the number of hunters spending more time in the outdoors hunting than in past years,” said Forrest Hammond, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s bear biologist, in a written statement.
In New Hampshire, 1,183 bears were killed, which is 12% higher than the previous record of 1,053 in 2018 and 42% above the preceding five-year average of 836, said Andrew Timmins, the black bear project leader for the state Fish and Game Department.
Officials have closed a section of road on the Navajo Nation through the end of February because of concerns about persistent drag racing.
The Farmington Daily Times reported Monday that the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Transportation closed 2.5 miles of Navajo Route 4178 with concrete barriers and signs near the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry farm and food product company.
NAPI CEO Dave Zeller said drag racing has been an issue in the area for several years.
“We are very concerned about the safety of our employees and everyone else who travel the roads through NAPI,” he said.
Genevia Cundiff, the security manager at NAPI, said no accidents or fatalities have been caused by drag racing but “it’s a risk we do not want to take.”
“NAPI employees traveling from field to field utilize these roadways and collisions could occur. In some instances, the employees have received threats by racers when [employees] interfered with their races,” Cundiff said.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents has reinstated the university alpine ski team after the program raised enough money to save itself from elimination.
“It’s official! We’re back!” head coach Sparky Anderson messaged the team on Friday.
The board unanimously voted to reinstate the program after the team reached its fundraising goal of $628,000 in December. The University of Alaska Foundation certified the donations before the vote.
The board previously voted in September to eliminate three sports, including alpine skiing, hockey and gymnastics because of budget cuts.
The board also said it would consider reinstatement for any program that could raise two years of operating costs before the next meeting in February.