MARYSVILLE January 4, 2019 – Caltrans District 3 is alerting motorists to an incoming winter storm in Northern California that will impact mountain highway travel Saturday, January 5 through Monday, January 7.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Reno has issued a Winter Storm Warning from 10 a.m. Saturday through 10 a.m. Sunday for the greater Lake Tahoe area, Lassen and eastern Plumas and Sierra counties. Heavy snowfall is anticipated Saturday with the highest rates of snow falling down to 3,500 feet from noon to 9 p.m. In addition, heavy wind gusts of 40-50 mph in the valley and up to 70 mph along mountain ridges may create low visibility conditions for motorists.
Snowfall is expected to resume around 5,000 feet Sunday evening and continue through Monday morning, which will impact work commutes. Strong south and southwest winds will also remain during this period and may cause tree or fence upheaval and power outages.
Motorists should anticipate delays and increased travel time throughout the weekend. 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 Saturday through 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 come prepared with chains or other legally approved traction devices.
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 crews will be working around the clock to keep roadways open and clear. Drivers should watch for snow removal equipment and reduce speeds while in their vicinity.
Motorists are also reminded that snow play in State Roadside Rest Areas (SRRAs), and along highways, offramps and onramps is not permitted. Vehicles that block highway shoulders or access to Caltrans maintenance equipment prevent the roadways from being cleared in a timely manner and may be subject to citations and/or tow. Caltrans will be working closely with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to monitor illegal snow play and keep rest areas and highways open for truckers and motorists to make quick stops and continue in their travels.
Check out Caltrans’ “QuickMap” for current road conditions and chain requirements at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov. For real-time traffic, download the QuickMap app on iTunes or Google Play. Motorists also can use the California Highway Information Network automated phone service by calling 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).