Heavy Snow Anticipated in the Sierra This Weekend (03/12/2020)


Caltrans Logo

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



MARYSVILLE – A significant winter storm will arrive in the Sierra Saturday morning, delivering feet of snow at pass levels through Monday morning.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is alerting the public to an incoming storm system that will deliver feet of snow to the Sierra, valley rain and wind gusts throughout the region. The storm is expected to arrive Saturday morning and last through the Monday morning commute. There is the potential for lingering snow showers and rain throughout next week.

Saturday through Sunday night, 34 inches of snow may be possible at Donner Pass with 24 inches of snowfall predicted at Echo Summit. Snow accumulations are expected down to 2,500 to 3,000 feet with the heaviest period of snowfall anticipated Saturday afternoon into Sunday. An additional 10 inches of snow may fall Monday into Tuesday at Sierra pass levels.

In the valley 1 to 2 inches of rain is predicted in the Sacramento area Saturday through Monday with isolated thunderstorms possible Sunday. The Grass Valley region may see 3 to 4 inches of rain given its higher elevation. Breezy winds are also anticipated Saturday and Sunday with gusts of 20 to 35 mph in the valley and 40 to 60 mph in the mountains.

Chain controls are expected throughout the Sierra and motorists are advised to be prepared for winter travel or delay travel until next week. Highway closures due to safety concerns may also be a possibility in the region on Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and State Routes 20, 28, 49, 89 and 267.

Caltrans reminds drivers to winterize vehicles by ensuring tires are properly inflated and have 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.

Motorists are also reminded of highway speed limits during chain controls: 30 mph on Interstate 80 and 25 mph on U.S. Highway 50. Driving slowly for weather conditions is crucial to avoid collisions on snowy, icy roads.

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