Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass are closed

UPDATED 3 p.m. Monday. The "Granite Curtain" descended in the High Sierra Monday, when snow, wind and general "inclement weather" forced Caltrans to close both Tioga Pass (S.R. 120) and Sonora Pass (S.R. 108).

Forecasters predicted four to eight 4 to 8 inches of snow are possible in the Sierra above 8,500 feet through Tuesday morning.

Snow levels near 11,000 feet will drop to near 9,000 feet later today and fall near 8,000 feet late tonight.

Snow may affect the higher passes along U.S. 395 tonight in Mono county but accumulations are unlikely to occur.

Monitor Pass, connecting U.S. 395 to Markleeville (Alpine Country) remained open as of 3 p.m.

The National Weather Service, in a special weather statement, said the low pressure system producing the storm will continue into Wednesday.

In the higher elevations of the Sierra, several inches of snow will accumulate later today and tonight, impacting back country activities and travel over the high mountain passes," the weather service announced.

Later tonight, the weather service said, the low will move into the central and southern Sierra and remain nearly stationary through Wednesday. Snow levels will fall below 9,000 feet later tonight and and may drop as low as 7,500 feet at times over Mono County.

The two passes offer the most direct route to the San Francisco Bay Area from the Eastern Sierra. When they close, many locals refer to the Sierra high country as "The Granite Curtain."