Travelers in the Sierra share impact of winter storm

Local News

(KTXL) – Travelers in the Sierra Mountains witnessed how quickly conditions went from calm to stormy Tuesday as a winter storm raced up the west slopes.  

“We got to make it all the way back to Reno and it’s coming down pretty good already,” one traveler said.

“Right after chain control it just getting really snowy and slick,” said another.

“We were right at where it said Donner Pass Road. We were going, ‘Oh this is cool, nothing’s going on.’ Then bam!” one traveler shared.

“Our windshield wiper fluid was frozen. We came here. We got stuck. We got blankets. We thought we might have to stay the night. But we got chain guys out here to give us chains and we’re headed just to Auburn. He guarantees we’re going to make it there safe,” said another traveler.

“Yeah, you’ve got to get them on there, nice and tight, front and back. You do it good. You guys will get there just fine. Keep it under thirty miles an hour. And just don’t sweat it, you know,” advised chain installer Tim Milas.

Just few hours earlier, families enjoyed the last bit of daylight, the weather was uneventful with sledding techniques were the topic of conversation.

“I ramped it almost. But I went through the snow,” said one child playing in the snow. “I would go really fast and do a little bit of a jump.”

The kids were part of a family that visited before the storm started.

“Yes, we see that the big storm’s coming so we’re trying to get out of here as soon as we can,” one parent.

“I didn’t want to be in too much of a storm. And it would be too crazy with the kids. So, we just figured, come up here now for a little bit of time and then head back soon,” said another parent.

With snow falling, those thinking of driving up to the Sierra should be aware that if the storm is strong enough, the routes into the mountains could close.

“If there are blizzard and whiteout conditions, then visibility can be minimal to nothing. And we will then close the highway for safety,” said Caltrans public information officer Raquel Borrayo.

Borrayo said Caltrans is fully staffed and ready for the storm and keeping the roads open also requires a lot of cooperation from the public. 

“We just ask that people be aware of what they are traveling into. Make sure you’re paying attention to the weather forecasts. We’re expecting 60 to 80 inches of snow at the summit on 80. That’s a ton of snow in a short period of time. And we just really do not recommend travel unless it’s necessary,” she said.

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