Snow snarls Reno traffic as record dry spell ends

RENO, Nev. — An inch of snow ended the longest recorded winter dry spell in Reno history early Monday, a 56-day stretch that has forced area ski resorts to make their own snow and prompted unusual January warnings about wildfire threats.

The dusting of snow measured only 0.4 inch of precipitation at Reno-Tahoe International Airport, but it was enough to snarl traffic and force the closure of a stretch of U.S. Interstate 80 as state troopers responded to nearly a dozen accidents, including one involving a patrolman's car.

The trooper was out of his vehicle investigating a wreck near Lockwood when a semi-trailer struck his cruiser from behind, said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen.

No one was hurt in that crash, but two people suffered minor to moderate injuries in other accidents early Monday, he said.

The light snow and icy conditions caused a five-car crash on the I-80 off ramp at East McCarran and a single-vehicle rollover east of Sparks. A 25-mile stretch of I-80 east of Sparks was closed nearly four hours but reopened about 7 a.m. Monday. Chains or snow tires remained mandatory on most mountain highways at midday.

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