Sierra Storm to Impact Thanksgiving Travel


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District:  District 3 - Marysville
Contact:  Raquel Borrayo
Phone:  (530) 634-7640; (530) 701-5209


Marysville – A winter storm arriving Tuesday is anticipated to bring 24 to 30 inches of snow at pass levels through Thanksgiving, causing significant travel delays in Sierra.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning for a weather system expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon and continue through Thanksgiving evening Thursday. Snow accumulations of up to four feet are possible at higher elevations.

This storm, in addition to increased traffic for the Thanksgiving holiday, will result in traffic delays for motorists. Those traveling through the Sierra region beginning Tuesday afternoon should account for increased travel time. Highway closures due to safety concerns may also be a possibility in the region for: Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and State Routes 20, 28, 49, 89 and 267.

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 Tuesday afternoon through Thursday evening. 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 should watch for snow removal equipment and reduce speeds while in their vicinity.

Caltrans also reminds drivers to winterize vehicles by ensuring 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 here.

Following the holiday storm, Caltrans would also like to remind motorists that snow play on highways or at State Roadside Rest Areas is a safety hazard and hinders snow removal operations. Drivers parking alongside highways, on- or off-ramps or in non-designated areas for snow play create hazardous driving conditions for other motorists and preventing big rigs from using rest areas for federally mandated stops. Legal snow play areas can be found on the California State Parks website at their website.

Check out Caltrans' “QuickMap” for current road conditions and chain requirements at For real-time traffic, download the QuickMap app on the App Store or Google Play. Motorists also can use the California Highway Information Network automated phone service by calling 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).