Severe Weather Halts Traffic in the Sierra

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COLFAX — The snow in the Sierra left drivers headed east stranded off of Interstate 80. Multiple roads and freeways have been closed down throughout the day due to whiteout conditions along with zero visibility. The National Weather Service has “highly discouraged” traveling through the area due to the winter storm. Car after car lined up side by side near Interstate 80 eastbound in Colfax. “We are just trying to get some skiing in,” said Rod Padilla. Padilla was one of a dozen drivers headed up to the snow who faced delayed travel plans after Caltrans officials temporarily closed several highways in the Sierra, including both directions of I-80 from Colfax to the Nevada state line. Multiple agencies, including CHP Truckee and Caltrans, are reporting whiteout conditions over Donner Summit. “We went and tried to get through on 20 but 20 is closed also. We’ve tried a few different routes. We even went 49,” Padilla told FOX40. Like Padilla, Wilmer Espiriidu was attempting to travel along I-80 eastbound. “I took my daughter to the airport last night then we’re heading back,” Espiriidu said. He said it was the second time he’s been stranded in less than 24 hours. He was also stranded while traveling westbound through the Sierra Nevada on his way to the airport. “Three hours we’ve been stuck,” he told FOX40. “And now we get stuck again.”
Currently, there is no estimated time of reopening. The CHP has told drivers who are stuck in the snow to “develop an action plan.” “We knew something was coming but we didn’t know it’d be this big,” Padilla said. Several crashes and spinouts were reported on Highway 50 near Echo Summit, forcing crews to block off the highway so they could clear vehicles and ensure safe travel for drivers. Around 8:30 p.m., Caltrans was slowly releasing traffic at Echo Summit and Meyers. Stay with FOX40 for more information as it becomes available.

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