The continued snowstorm in the Sierra on Friday has created treacherous travel conditions on Sierra Nevada highways.
Interstate 80 was closed in both directions since Friday morning from Colfax to the Nevada state line. The California Highway Patrol reported shortly before 5 p.m. that westbound I-80 had reopened to passenger vehicles but remained closed to tractor trailers.
As of 12:15 p.m. Friday, portions of Highway 20, Old Highway 40 and Highway 88 are also closed. Highway 89 between Truckee and Squaw Valley has reopened after multiple spinouts had closed the road, Caltrans reported.
On Highway 50, eastbound traffic was being held at several points in the Pollock Pines and Kyburz area because of downed power lines, but the highway has been reopened as of 12:18 p.m., Caltrans reports. Westbound Highway 50 traffic was also being held at Meyers because of avalanche control, but that portion of the roadway has reopened.
Chains controls are in effect on Highway 50 from 4 miles east of Placerville to Meyers and around Lake Tahoe.
Two more feet of snow could fall before the storm passes Saturday night, said Eric Kurth, National Weather service meteorologist.
Several Lake Tahoe ski resorts reported two to three feet of snow Thursday as a week of wet weather continued into the weekend.
Diamond Peak led the charge with a full three feet of snow just across state lines in Nevada. In California, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Homewood Mountain Resort and Sierra-at-Tahoe each reported 28 inches of powder, most of which began falling after 7 p.m. Thursday, and Northstar’s peak received 26 inches.
The California Nevada River Forecast Center’s meter at Sacramento State picked up 0.71 inches of rain Thursday, about a half-inch more than fell at Sacramento International Airport or in Stockton. Another quarter-inch is forecast Friday afternoon through Saturday with possible thunderstorms and hail, Kurth said.
Thursday evening saw a short-lived tornado warning in Tehama County as winds swelled above 45 mph. A winter storm warning has been extended through 5 a.m. Saturday beginning at the Sierra Nevada’s western slope, with near-whiteout conditions possible at higher elevations.
In the Yuba County town of Brownsville, a 17-year-old boy suffered major injuries when his 1997 Ford F-150 spun off La Porte Road and crashed into a tree at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday. Snow had rendered the road slushy and slick despite Brownsville being at just 2,300 feet elevation, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.
The boy was taken to UC Davis Medical Center via air ambulance after a nearby resident found him in the truck. Alcohol and other drugs were not factors in his collision and he was wearing a seat belt, the CHP reported.
After clear skies Sunday and Monday, a relatively weak storm system is expected to roll through next Tuesday through the end of the work week, dumping two to three feet of snow in the Sierra and about an inch of rain in Sacramento. Heaviest precipitation is predicted for Wednesday night into Thursday.
Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052, firstname.lastname@example.org