Mudslides shut both major Sierra highways on big travel day for snow enthusiasts

Mudslide closes all lanes of Interstate 80 in Sierra

Interstate 80 is closed in both directions due to a mudslide in the Baxter area.
Up Next
Interstate 80 is closed in both directions due to a mudslide in the Baxter area.

Sierra section of eastbound I-80 to reopen at 10 p.m.

9:45 p.m.: The California Department of Transportation announced that Interstate 80, closed Friday morning due to a mudslide at Baxter, will reopen eastbound to single-file passenger vehicle traffic at 10 p.m. Friday and to truckers at 2 a.m. Saturday.

American River search called off

5:15 p.m.: The search for a victim in the south fork of the American River near Salmon Falls Bridge has been called off for now, according to the El Dorado Hills Fire Department. The department said earlier in the day that it and CHP were looking for a possible kayaker.

Mudslides close Highway 50 west of Kyburz

4:45 p.m.: No sooner had a mudslide on Highway 50 in the Kyburz area cleared Friday afternoon than Caltrans reported the highway through El Dorado County was again closed in both directions due to multiple mudslides west of Kyburz.

Two lanes were reported blocked near the Apple Cafe, east of Placerville. A mudslide also was reported near Icehouse, and a tree was reported down in the Audrain-Echo Summit area.

The closure means that both major Sierra Nevada highways were closed Friday afternoon – prime travel time for snow enthusiasts from Sacramento and the Bay Area heading up for a weekend on the slopes.

Yolo County urges motorists to avoid Old River Road due to saturated ground

4:15 p.m.: Yolo County on Friday imposed temporary vehicle weight limits for for a stretch of Old River Road between the Sacramento Weir and Interstate 5 due to water saturated ground and increased erosion along the Sacramento River, according to a county news release.

Vehicles using the roadway must not exceed 5 tons.

The county also encouraged motorists to use alternate routes to avoid entering the shoulders to this portion of Old River Road and South River Road from the West Sacramento city limits to the Freeport Bridge.

“The water-saturated ground conditions in this area make the road shoulders extremely soft,” Taro Echiburu, Yolo County community services director, said in a written statement. “In addition to being a hazardous situation, any vehicle, but especially heavy trucks, veering onto shoulders could result in levee erosion and road damage.”

Avalanche warning issued for Crystal Bay subdivision

3:50 p.m.: An avalanche alert was issued for the Crystal Bay subdivision, according the the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.

The alert was for the area east of Tuscarora Road. Residents were notified via automated phone calls to avoid outdoor activity and to shelter in place until further notice. Public safety personnel were monitoring the situation, according to a fire district news release.

The Sierra Avalanche Center issued a “considerable” avalanche hazard warning for the backcountry, cautioning that “large human-triggered wind slab avalanches remain likely today due to gale-force winds and heavy snow.”

Water rescue in El Dorado County

3:35 p.m.: El Dorado Hills Fire Department crews and the California Highway Patrol are undertaking a water rescue near the Salmon Falls Bridge over the south fork of the American River, the fire department reports.

Wilton-area residents advised to evacuate areas along Cosumnes River

3:30 p.m.:The Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services is advising Wilton-ares residents evacuate low-lying areas along the Cosumnes River.

The Cosumnes River reached its peak height, over 15 feet, at Michigan Bar, which will result in the river reaching flood stage at Wilton Road on Friday afternoon, according to an OES news release. This will affect major roadway access in and out of Wilton.

Pleasant Grove High School, 9531 Bond Road, Elk Grove, has been identified as an evacuation center.

Residents area advised to seek updates at as well as SacramentoOES on Facebook and Twitter. Information on roadway closures is available by calling Sacramento County 311.

Workers continue work to clear mudslide

3 p.m: Caltrans reported that emergency contractor crews were working to clear the mudslide on Interstate 80 at Baxter, noting that mud and debris was 8 feet deep in some areas, with downed trees. The affected area is about 250 feet long.

There is no estimated time of reopening and travel on the roadway likely will be affected through the weekend, according to a Caltrans news release. The eastbound lanes likely will open first with limited lanes available.

Although the forecast is for clear weather Saturday and Sunday, Caltrans reported that rain was falling in the slide area Friday afternoon and affecting cleanup efforts.

Motorists are advised to be prepared for significant delays and traffic congestion on the detour routes and on Interstate 80 after it reopens to traffic.

Cosumnes River reaches flood stage at Wilton

2:25 p.m.: The Cosumnes River has reached flood stage at Wilton, according to Sacramento County’s flood monitoring system. Residents in nearby Point Pleasant have already been advised to evacuate.

Point Pleasant residents advised to evacuate

1 p.m.: The residents of Point Pleasant in southern Sacramento County are being advised to evacuate by the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services.

Flooding is expected in some areas of rural Point Pleasant in the next 24 hours. The National Weather Service California-Nevada River Forecast Center is predicting that the Mokelumne River at Benson’s Ferry will continue to rise until 7 p.m. Saturday to an elevation of 19.6 feet. Flood stage is 17 feet.

County authorities recommend Point Pleasant residents evacuate by heading east on Point Pleasant Road and north on Bruceville Road toward high ground. An evacuation center will be open at Pleasant Grove High School, 9531 Bond Road, Elk Grove.

Lambert Road at Snodgrass Slough and east of Franklin Boulevard is expected to be impassable.

Residents are encouraged to monitor

American River Parkway, Dry Creek Parkway officially closed

11 a.m.: Sacramento County announced that all access points to the American River Parkway, Dry Creek Parkway and Sacramento River Delta Parks are closed until further notice.

The closures include pedestrian access points. The county closed vehicle access on Thursday.

“It is for visitor safety,” said Kim Nava, Sacramento County spokeswoman. “With all the soaking rains, the ground gets saturated. There could be issues with trees and other debris.”

The ban on accessing the parkway includes not allowing bicycling on the multiuse trail, Nava said.

The Delta parks include Hogback Island access, the Elkhorn boat launching facility and Sherman Island in the Delta.

The Campus Commons Golf Course and its adjacent portion of the parkway bike trail were submerged Friday morning. The Effie Yeaw Nature Center located in Ancil Hoffman Park closed Thursday; it’s unclear whether it will be able to reopen for its usual weekend slate of activities.

Though the region is expected to enjoy a sunny weekend with highs in the 60s, it may be a rare beautiful weekend in which the American River Parkway will be devoid of endurance athletes. Heavy runoff from the Sierra continues to force high releases from Folsom and Nimbus dams, flooding low sections of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail.

Mudslide closes I-80 in Baxter area

10:35 a.m.: Interstate 80 is closed in both directions due to a mudslide in the Baxter area, the California Highway Patrol’s Truckee office reports. Westbound I-80 is closed at Highway 20 and the freeway’s eastbound lanes are closed at Colfax. Cars are being allowed to use Highway 20 and taking a detour through Nevada City to Highway 49 to Auburn. Motorists should expect significant delays, the CHP said.

On Highway 50, chains are required from Twin Bridges to Meyers, according to the state Department of Transportation.

LIVE TRAFFIC: Real-time conditions on Sacramento-area highways

American River rises to 38.59 feet at H Street Bridge

10:15 a.m.: The American River has reached its highest level since 1997 as water continues to gush from gates at the Folsom and Nimbus dams. The river rose to 38.59 feet at the H Street Bridge in Sacramento as of 9:15 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The river in 1997 crested at 42.7 feet. Flood stage at the H Street bridge is 42 feet.

Nearly all weir gates open

10 a.m.: The Department of Water Resources on Friday morning reported Friday morning that it opened additional gates on the Sacramento River, bringing the total up to 46 of 48 gates opened.

The gates will accommodate flows coming down the Sacramento River into the Yolo Bypass, allowing additional flows from the American River as releases from Folsom Lake are increased and maintaining the DWR to maintain a consistent level on the Sacramento River at the I Street gauge.

Each gate allows 1,500 cubic feet per second of water to enter the Yolo Bypass from the Sacramento and American rivers, the DWR reports.

Initially, 10 of 48 gates were opened at 11 p.m. Wednesday. An additional 15 gates were opened at 8 a.m. Thursday 21 more gates were opened at 7 p.m. that day.

This is the first time the Sacramento Weir has been opened twice in one year since water year 1985-86, the DWR reports.

Campus Commons Golf course remained closed because of flooding on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. The nine-hole course next to the H Street Bridge borders the American River and is prone to water encroachment when river levels get high. With the river st

Folsom Dam releases reach 83,000 cubic feet per second

A total of 83,000 cubic feet per second was rushing out of Folsom Dam’s gates Friday morning. Even though that level was high, there was more streaming into the Folsom Lake: 126,000 cfs.

The release is the most water to flow out of the dam in at least 10 years.

The Sacramento Fire Department reported that five water rescues occurred in four hours Thursday night, including one in which swimmers pulled a woman to shore from an island in the American River. She was taken to the hospital suffering from exposure, a department spokesman said.

NWS forecasters say that standing water in some locations may be very slow to recede due to saturated soil.

South Sacramento County again faces multiple road closures

The Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services is advising the residents of Wilton and Point Pleasant to “take any precautionary actions they feel appropriate to protect themselves or property.” The county announced a flood warning for both rural communities on Thursday.

Twin Cities Road closed in both directions Clay East Road to the entrance to Rancho Seco Park, the Sacramento Office of Emergency Services reports Friday morning.

Heavy rainfall over the past several days has resulted in high river and stream levels, including the American River, where gates on Nimbus and Folsom dams were releasing large amounts of water.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews