Storm Causes Whiteout Conditions Over Donner Pass

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ALTA -- This storm brought in whiteout conditions on Interstate 80 over Donner Pass.

With several feet of snow expected, traffic slowed to a crawl over the mountains.

Caltrans was out working overtime to keep the roads open Saturday night but, getting over Donner Summit is slow going.

As the rain turns to snow near Alta, drivers started to pull off of I-80.

“It’s been a little crazy, there’s a lot of rain and we just had all this snow here. But so far so good,” said driver Naki Margolis who was headed east on I-80.

Chains are required going over the summit. Margolis didn’t want to put them on herself.

“That’s right, I couldn’t trust myself to do it,” she said.

So, she hired one of dozens of chain installers who set up shop just before the Caltrans check point.

“All of us are independent contractors for Caltrans and we watch the weather real close. And you know, we know exactly when it’s going on,” said Mike Pitz.

Pitz from Auburn says this weekend has actually been a slow one compared with earlier this holiday season.

“I think there’s probably more traffic going westbound this weekend, coming down from the mountains,” Pitz said. “It’s kind of a weird Saturday you know, you’ve got the football playoffs going on and stuff. So, I’m sure a lot of people are going to come up tomorrow.”

However, not everyone put their chains on. There were several spin outs.

But Margolis says using the professionals is worth the peace of mind.

“it’s pretty reasonable too. Someone told me it was a hundred dollars. But it was only thirty,” she said.

We’re told there’s about 2 feet of snow expected to fall over night and many ski resorts are happy to have it.

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