Set of Winter Storms to Bring Snow to Sierras and Rain to the Valley
MARYSVILLE – Caltrans District 3 is alerting motorists to incoming weekend storms in Northern California that will impact mountain and valley highway travel Friday, February 1 through Monday, February 4.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm watch alerting the public to a couple of weather systems that will bring rain to the valley and snow and wind gusts at higher elevations. The first, heavier storm expected Friday evening will bring mountain snow at the 6,000 to 7,000 foot elevation. Snow levels will fall by Saturday night to around 4,000 feet with 18 to 24 inches of snow accumulation possible over mountain passes Friday through Saturday.
In the valley, heavy rain and thunderstorms Saturday morning and afternoon will increase the likelihood of flash floods in burn scar areas. Strong winds of 40 to 45 mph may also cause blowing debris and downed tree limbs. Motorists are reminded to be alert, slow for weather conditions and use headlights while driving.
A second, colder storm is predicted to arrive Sunday and last through Monday morning, delivering another one to two feet of snow at mountain pass levels. Snow elevations may drop Sunday evening to around 1,500 to 2,500 feet. However, snow accumulation at lower elevations is expected to be light.
Motorists should anticipate delays and longer travel time due to weekend traffic and inclement weather conditions. 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 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 carry 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 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.
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).