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Caltrans is alerting motorists to an approaching weather system that is expected to deliver significant rain and snowfall totals in Sierra and Valley areas, making regional travel difficult.

Due to heavy snowfall totals predicted for mountain areas between Saturday night and Tuesday evening, Caltrans recommends limiting travel to before or after the storm if possible. Donner Summit on Interstate 80 (I-80) may receive between 80-100 inches of snow, with 60-80 inches possible at Echo Summit on U.S. Highway 50 (U.S. 50).

Snow is expected to start falling late Saturday evening with heaviest snowfall periods anticipated Sunday night through Monday night. Low-elevation snow around 1,000 feet is possible at the tail end of the weather system.

In the Valley areas, 3-4 inches of rainfall is predicted for the Chico and Sacramento areas. Rain totals of 5-7 inches are possible in the foothills. Motorists are advised to be alert for possible roadway flooding, downed trees and power lines due to wind gusts of 35-55 mph.

Chain controls will be in effect in mountain areas with temporary highway closures possible due to whiteout conditions or incidents. Motorists are advised that speed limits during chain controls are reduced to 30 mph on I-80 and 25 mph on U.S. 50.

Caltrans reminds drivers to winterize vehicles by ensuring tires are properly inflated and have good tread, and to stock up with water, blankets, snacks, a flashlight and a full tank of gas before mountain travel. Further tips for safe winter driving and information about chain controls can be found at dot.ca.gov/travel/winter-driving-tips. District 3 also recommends following the National Weather Service offices in Sacramento and Reno for up-to-date weather forecasts for the region. 

District 3 is responsible for maintaining and operating 4,385 lane miles in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties. Check out Caltrans’ “QuickMap” for current road conditions and chain requirements at quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ or download the free QuickMap app on the App Store or Google Play. Motorists also can call the California Highway Information Network automated phone service at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).