MARYSVILLE – Caltrans is alerting motorists to a series of storms that will dump several feet of snow in the Sierra and create slick roadways in the Sacramento Valley area, making holiday travel difficult this week.
Heavy snowfall totals are forecast for mountain areas starting Tuesday through Christmas and into Sunday, Dec. 26; Donner Summit on Interstate 80 (I-80) may receive between 6-8 feet of snow, with 5-7 feet possible at Echo Summit on U.S. Highway 50.
Snow is expected to start falling Tuesday down to 3,000-feet elevation, with the heaviest snowfall beginning Wednesday around 5,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
In the Valley areas, 3-4 inches of rainfall is predicted for the Chico and Sacramento areas. Rain totals of up to 10 inches are possible in the foothills. Motorists are advised to be alert for possible roadway flooding, downed trees and power lines due to high winds.
Chain controls and additional travel time should be expected in mountain areas, with temporary highway closures possible due to whiteout conditions, spinouts or avalanche control work. Motorists are advised that speed limits during chain controls are reduced to 30 mph on I-80 and 25 mph Highway 50.
Caltrans reminds drivers to winterize vehicles by ensuring tires are properly inflated and have good tread (minimum 6/32 in snow areas), 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 recommends following the National Weather Service offices in Sacramento and Reno for daily weather forecasts.
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).