The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm watch for the greater Lake Tahoe area from 4 p.m. Friday until 10 p.m. Sunday. The Weather Service is forecasting several feet of new snow over Donner Pass on Interstate 80 and Echo Summit on U.S. Highway 50, with wind gusts 40-50 mph that could produce whiteout conditions.
The first storm is expected to arrive Friday night and a second stronger system will hit Saturday evening, becoming heavier on Sunday and showers could linger into Monday. Snow levels are expected as low as 2,500 feet with the first storm and down to 1,000 feet with the second.
In the valley, a 0.25-0.50 inches of rainfall is expected with the first storm and .50 to 1.0 with the second.
Motorists should anticipate delays and longer travel during these storms. Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit and on other Sierra mountain roadways should be anticipated Friday night through early Monday. Caltrans permitted and trained chain installers on I-80 can be identified by a reflective sign with their bib number. Chain installers are not permitted to sell chains. Motorists must carry chains or other legally approved traction control devices.
Drivers are advised that speed limits during chain controls are reduced to 30 mph on I-80 and 25 mph on U.S. 50. Caltrans crews will be working around the clock to keep roadways open and clear. Drivers are advised to watch for snow removal equipment and reduce speeds while in their vicinity.
Caltrans reminds drivers to check that tires are properly inflated and have a good tread, and to stock vehicles 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 http://www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/winter.html.
Caltrans District 3 maintains more than 4,385 lanes miles of state highway in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties. Caltrans issues updates about road conditions on Twitter and on Facebook. For real-time traffic information around the clock, go to http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ or download the free Caltrans QuickMap app on iTunes or Google Play.