Update: The CHP reports Interstate 80 has reopened to passenger vehicles only. Big rigs will need to wait until around 6 or 7 p.m. Sunday.
TRUCKEE (AP) — Authorities have shut a 95-mile stretch of eastbound Interstate 80 amid another snowstorm hitting the Sierra Nevada.
The California Highway Patrol shut I-80 from Colfax to the Nevada state line because of multiple spinouts.
“It’s really snowing hard and the roads are very slippery,” Joanna Yakimyuk said.
Forecasters issued a winter storm warning of whiteout conditions until Sunday evening because of heavy snow and strong winds throughout the mountain region.
The National Weather Service predicted 12 to 24 inches of snow dropping in the greater Lake Tahoe area, with winds in the mountain ridges gusting up to 110 mph.
Throughout the day, crews responded to a number of accidents with cars spinning out on snow-covered roads.
The treacherous driving conditions and interstate closure interrupting travel plans.
“We wanted to go up to North Star but the roads were closed so we’re kind of just waiting it out until they let us go through,” Yakimyuk said.
But, for those with nowhere to go, the storm comes as a welcomed surprise.
“It makes the earth dressed up,” Tatiana Fromlik said.
Roseville residents, Fromlik and Nataliya Gurlang, described the scene as “very beautiful,” “real winter weather” and “refreshing.”
The powdery snow left I-80 looking more like a winter wonderland than a busy interstate.
“We hope that everyone enjoys the weather. We’re very grateful for such wonderful snow. It’s unfortunate for those who need to go somewhere and can’t because of the storm, but it is very beautiful,” Fromlik said.
A snowstorm last weekend trapped more than 120 people for five days in a resort in the southern Sierra. In Yosemite National Park, as many as 50 housing structures were damaged by trees toppled during a snowstorm earlier this week.
As the snow continues to pile up, here is a visual reminder to drive safe. Slow down and increase your following distance. Easy on the gas and brake.
Chain control update:
I-80 closed from State Line to Colfax in both directions pic.twitter.com/5M2IjtvONO
— CHP-Truckee (@CHP_Truckee) February 10, 2019