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Mountain travel ‘strongly discouraged’, I-80 closes as latest storm blows over Sierra


“Dangerous to impossible” trips are expected in the Sierra Nevada as another winter storm blasts through the mountains on 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 really heavy snow,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Kurth. “With this heavier band of showers and thunderstorms – the remnants of that moving over 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 he received 21.3 inches of snow in a 24-hour period from 8:50 a.m.

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

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

Closed roads

According to Caltrans, several spin-outs blocked traffic at various locations up the hill toward Lake Tahoe on Interstate 80 eastbound from Drum Road.

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

The highway was closed westbound at the state line and eastbound in Colfax due to drifts, high winds and whiteout driving conditions, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Traffic was kept eastbound on the freeway about two miles east of Baxter due to stalls, the CHP said. The route is closed in Colfax to avoid a traffic jam up the hill.

Caltrans said traffic was also stalled on Highway 50 between Echo Summit and Meyers due to multiple spin-outs.

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

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

There is no estimated time to reopen any of these routes.

Visit https://quickmap.dot.ca.gov for the latest road and traffic information.

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