Wild Weather: Officials Recover Body of Missing Snowboarder

Rain, snow wreak havoc along the West Coast.

ByABC News
December 30, 2010, 3:01 AM

Dec. 30, 2010— -- As West Coast residents mopped up today from another round of extreme weather, officials in California announced the death of a snowboarder who had been missing for three days.

The body of Shawnte Marie Willis, 25, was found today at a Lake Tahoe-area resort after wind and snow hampered the National Guard's search.

"It's very unfortunate we have a very sad ending here," said Capt. Jeffrey Ausnow of the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

It appeared that Willis, an accomplished skier and athlete, crashed while snowboarding.

Ski resorts across the West have reported extreme winds. At Mammoth Ski Resort, also in California, gusts clocked in at 105 miles per hour.

All along the West Coast, from Washington to Arizona, blinding heavy snow has turned travel on highways into a treacherous journey.

Near Fargo, N.D., icy roads caused a massive, 100-car pileup, though no one was injured.

Driving in New Mexico was hazardous, with the weather causing sliding, spinouts and other accidents.

Outside the Grand Canyon, all lanes of Interstate 17 were shut down overnight, stranding drivers in a traffic nightmare.

"We knew the weather was going to be bad, but we didn't think it was going to be that bad," one stranded driver said.

Southern California residents still are recovering from last week's storm that brought nearly a year's worth of rain in a week. One hundred twenty homes in the San Joaquin valley were evacuated today after a local canal flooded.

Cold wind gusts of more than 40 miles per hour slammed into Los Angeles County Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Motorists faced downed trees and rolling tumbleweeds resulting from strong winds on Southern California highways and a mudslide closed parts of the 91 freeway at the Riverside County border, according to the California Highway Patrol.