Christmas Eve storm brings heavy snow, slow traffic to Sierra highways

Local News

KINGVALE, Calif. (KTXL) — On Christmas Eve, conditions have cleared in the valley but in the Sierra it’s a different story.

Snow has been unrelenting in the upper elevations throughout the day.

For some drivers, the winter wonderland was exactly what they wanted to see during the holiday while for others, the snow brought about frustrations.

The snow caught holiday traveler Joni Nguien and his dog, De-Oor off guard.

“As you can tell, I’m super cold,” Nguien told FOX40 with laughter. “Just need a warm jacket and I’ll be good.”

The Bay Area native also needed chains for his car to get to his final destination in Lake Tahoe.

Caltrans required chains in both directions of Interstate 80 where checkpoints along the interstate led to a miles-long standstill between Nyack and Kingvale.

“Two, two-and-a-half-hour delay in traffic. It was pretty bad,” Nguien said.

Caltrans stressed the slowdowns were all in place to save lives.

Throughout much of the day, officials temporarily closed parts of I-80 in both directions due to several spinouts.

“What we’re asking is just make sure you are aware of the road conditions. If it is asking for chain controls, make sure you carry chains. If it’s asking to please wait a while, bring patience because everyone has somewhere to go and we realize that, we’re going to help you get there as best as possible, but we want to make sure everyone gets to their destination safe,” explained Caltrans District 3 spokesperson Angela DaPrato.

Having a safe ride meant travelers could get to their favorite Christmas destination, including a spot where some people had a good time on a sled.

The Javari family came all the way from Phoenix, Arizona to enjoy the snow.

“It was sledding the down the hill,” Dev Javari said sharing the family’s favorite snow activity with FOX40.

“So much fun, merry Christmas to everybody. Good time to spend holiday with the family,” said SJ Javari.

A similar sentiment was shared by Nguien, even after hours in traffic.

“It’s all about the Christmas spirit man, got to have the Santa hat, you have to look good,” Nguien said.

The maximum speed limit in snow conditions is 30 mph, so for those who drive through the snow, take it slow.

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