High winds whipped the Sierra on Sunday as an atmospheric river bringing rain and snow moved through Northern California. The most impressive gusts blew at 173 mph on a Squaw Valley summit and 175 mph atop a peak in Alpine Meadows.

These bursts were far stronger than the 110 mph winds that were forecast to be the record-breakers for the day. What’s more, they would have been tornado had they been cyclonic and sustained. Many Tahoe ski resorts operated a limited number of lifts or closed entirely on Sunday. CONTINUE