Forecast calls for significant mountain snowfall and valley rains
MARYSVILLE – Caltrans is alerting motorists traveling in the Sierra foothills, mountain areas or over the Donner or Echo Summits to be prepared for winter driving conditions, especially at the higher elevations and in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Motorists should also expect delays caused by heavy rainfall in Valley areas which may increase flooding risks.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning through Saturday, with snowfall totals through Tuesday, February 7 predicted to exceed four feet of new snow on summit passes. Additionally, forecasts call for over four inches of rain in Valley and foothill regions. A break in the storm Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon may occur with rain and snow returning Sunday evening. High wind gusts are also anticipated with these storms, raising the risk of falling trees and low visibility driving conditions.
Chain restrictions are likely on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit, as well as in the Lake Tahoe basin. Motorists are required to carry chains even if driving a four- or all-wheel drive vehicle with mud + snow rated tires.
Motorists traveling over Echo Summit, or other Tahoe Basin/Sierra area roadways, may be held intermittently for avalanche control. While Highway 89 over Emerald Bay is currently open, it may close again due to avalanche hazards. Traffic on Interstate 80 may also be held intermittently to clear any traffic incidents or if low visibility conditions occur. Motorists are cautioned to watch for mud and rock slides on mountain roadways.
Caltrans snow removal and winter roadway operations will continue around the clock. Motorists are instructed to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and Caltrans equipment and only pass when the whole roadway ahead is visible. These and other winter driving tips, can be found at http://www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/winter.html including: