Mountain travel 'highly discouraged,' I-80 closes as latest storm blows through Sierra


"Dangerous to impossible" travel is expected in the Sierra Nevada as another winter storm blows through the mountains Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service also said it expects a band of heavy rain to hit, as the front moves up the Highway 80 corridor.

"Right now it looks like some really intense snow," National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Kurth said. "With that heavier band of showers and thunderstorms - the remnants of that moving up in there - things could get even heavier."

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab, located at an elevation of 6,894 feet in Soda Springs, California, said it had received 21.3 inches of snow in a 24-hour period as of 8:50 a.m.

There was 10 feet of snow already on the ground, the lab reported, and it expects 2 to 3 more feet by Monday morning.

"Dangerous to impossible Sierra travel is expected as a line of strong thunderstorms moves through over the next few hours," the weather service tweeted at 11:20 a.m. Saturday. "Heavy snowfall rates 2-4" with zero visibility & gusty winds will create impassable roads & whiteout conditions. Travel is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED!"

Road closures

Multiple spin-outs caused traffic to be held at various locations up the hill toward Lake Tahoe on eastbound Interstate 80 starting at Drum Road, according to Caltrans.

Traffic was stopped on Donner Summit, Caltrans said in a post on Twitter.

The highway was closed westbound at the state line and eastbound at Colfax due to spin-outs, high winds and white-out driving conditions, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Traffic was held eastbound on the highway around two miles east of Baxter due to spin-outs, the CHP stated. The route is closed at Colfax to prevent a traffic jam up the hill.

Caltrans said traffic is also being held on Highway 50 between Echo Summit and Meyers due to multiple spin-outs.

Highway 49 is closed from about four miles north of the Nevada/Yuba County line at Marysville Road to Sattley in Sierra County due to heavy snow, Caltrans reported.

Highway 20 is closed between Nevada Street and the I-80 junction due to icy road conditions.

There is no estimated time to re-open any of these roadways.

Visit for the latest road and traffic info.


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