The west coast of the US has seen its first snow of the season with an early taste of winter arriving over the west coast on Monday.  

The snow was very welcome across the ski resorts in the region but caught many motorists unprepared.

The storm caused a 20-vehicle pile-up on Highway 99 in California's San Joaquin Valley.

Violent winds blew up dust as the storms developed on Monday morning.

Five people required hospital treatment, but there were no serious injuries in the accident which caused a 5km tailback.

The early snow has been greeted with some delight across those parts of northern California that remain in the grips of their historic drought.

It is also a promising sign for the local businesses hoping for a busy ski season.

The early snow extended as far east as Reno, Nevada. High elevations are expecting up to 60cm of snow and the Mount Rose Ski Resort in Tahoe plans to open on Wednesday.

The southern Rockies are expecting a further dusting of snow over the next 48 hours as the wintry weather heads into Colorado.

The scene will then be set for clear skies and crisp sunshine right into the weekend.

Source: Al Jazeera