Sierra travelers take advantage of calm weather before weekend’s major storm

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FRESH POND, Calif. (KTXL) -- Several travelers Friday tried to beat the storm expected to hit the Sierra this weekend.

Drivers and businesses were bracing themselves for what is expected to be a dangerous weekend to travel through the Sierra. But some wore T-shirts Friday as they stopped at a gas station in Fresh Pond.

Those at the gas station said with the last snow, there were hundreds of people there to play on a nearby hill. Despite the winter weather warnings, they said they are expecting the same this weekend.

But drivers heading to South Lake Tahoe said they did not want to take any chances leaving any later.

Vinay Sukhu was heading up to celebrate his son's birthday.

"The storm concerned me,” Sukhu said. “I know it's coming down later today, so we figured we'd get a head start early and take our time getting there."

In Nyack, two truckers from Idaho who did not want to get trapped again were making sure they were over the pass before the roads and traffic got messy.

“Imagine being at home, locking yourself in the closet, not being able to go to work, confined to that little closet and there’s nothing there but that closet,” truck driver Jacob Nielsen told FOX40. “That’s what it’s like being in your truck for five days. Everything closes in on you, so the more we are moving the better we are.”

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol are heavily discouraging travel to the Sierra this weekend, with warnings of gusty winds and several feet of snow.

A little after 8 p.m., the rain came down in Cisco Grove and further up the hill, the rain turned to snow. A little more than an hour later, Caltrans said chain controls were in effect on Interstate 80.

Caltrans says its plows will be out in full force and urges drivers to plan ahead and be patient.

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Ashley Zavala contributed to this report.

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