An “extreme” blizzard has caused widespread disruption in the western US – with more than 10ft of snow piling up in places.

Thousands of properties were left without power in California and Nevada over the weekend, while the state of Utah was also hit.

The states have also been affected by heavy rain and wind speeds of more than 100mph – including a tornado that rained debris down on an elementary school in Madera County, California.

Hundreds of motorists were left stranded on the Interstate 80 highway between Reno and Sacramento due to the conditions, forcing authorities to shut down 100 miles (160km) of the busy road.

Officials said there had been “multiple” reports of crashes and drivers losing control.

A Major League Soccer game in Salt Lake City, Utah, was among the sporting fixtures disrupted – although officials controversially decided to allow play to continue despite heavy snow, a two-hour delay to kick-off and a stoppage for lightning.

Los Angeles FC manager Steve Cherundolo, whose side lost 3-0 to hosts Real Salt Lake, branded Saturday’s match a “disgrace” and said it should have been called off.

Mar 2, 2024; Sandy, Utah, USA; LAFC forward Denis Bouanga (99) plays the ball against Real Salt Lake at America First Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake footballers played on despite heavy snow. Pic: Rob Gray/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Several ski resorts in the affected states were also forced to close due to the amount of snowfall and poor visibility.

More than 7,000 homes in California were left without power, while power cuts in and around Las Vegas affected almost 29,000 properties on Saturday.

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A family struggle through the snow in Truckee, California. Pic: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group via AP
A family struggle through the snow in Truckee, California. Pic: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group via AP

The storm first began sweeping in on Thursday, with the freezing conditions, snow and storms expected to continue into Wednesday in some areas.

A blizzard warning covered a 300-mile stretch of the Sierra Nevada mountain region on Sunday, with forecasters warning more snow was likely.

One of the worst-affected areas was the town of Truckee near Lake Tahoe in California, where homes, businesses and vehicles were buried in more than 10ft of snow.

Resident Dubravka Tomasin described the blizzard as “pretty harrowing.”

A house is covered with snow, in Truckee, U.S., in this picture obtained from social media, March 2, 2024 . Ashley Belline/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
A house is buried in snow in the town of Truckee. Pic: Ashley Belline/via Reuters

National Weather Service meteorologist William Churchill said the conditions represented a “life-threatening concern” and said snow could pile up to more than 12ft deep by the end of Sunday in higher regions.

He described the storm as an “extreme blizzard,” adding: “It’s certainly just about as bad as it gets in terms of the snow totals and the winds. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Crews clears trees along Donner Lake, where power was lost due to a snow storm, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Truckee, Calif. (AP Photo/Brooke Hess-Homeier)
Crews try to repair damaged electricity cables in Truckee. Pic: AP Photo/Brooke Hess-Homeier

Other attractions forced to close over the weekend included Yosemite National Park in California, while authorities also warned of an ongoing “high to extreme” danger of avalanches in mountain regions.

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