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Posted on: December 23, 2020

Winter Storm Watch Issued Friday-Saturday which Will Impact Essential Travel in Mountains

Winter Storm Watch Graphic

National Weather Service Sacramento is forecasting heavy mountain snow in the northern Sierra region. Motorists conducting essential travel are being alerted to a series of storms which will bring impactful winter weather across Northern California this weekend. Essential mountain travel is expected to become difficult by afternoon and evening on Friday, December 25, and continue through early Saturday morning. A brief break is possible late Saturday night through Sunday morning before another weather system is expected late Sunday into Monday. If traveling in the mountains, carry chains, extra warm clothing and food, and be prepared for significant travel delays.

Travel conditions are expected to be difficult with the potential for heavy snow. Total snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches are possible above 5,000 to 6,000 feet with localized amounts of up to 3 feet over peaks. There is a potential for lighter accumulations of snow, between 3 to 6 inches at 3,000 to 4,000 feet of elevation.

If essential travel is planned at higher elevations, it is critical to prepare for a significant amount of snow, sleet or ice accumulations.  

 Winterize Your Vehicle

  • Check your battery, brakes, windshield wipers, heater/defroster, coolant, exhaust system, and other vehicle systems affected by cold temperatures.
  • Always carry chains. They should be the correct size for your tires and in proper working order.
  • Pack an emergency supply kit with a mobile phone and charger, batteries, gloves, spare key, dry towel, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit, high-calorie, non-perishable food, sack of sand or cat litter for traction, shovel, scraper, and battery booster cables.
  • Make sure your tires are inflated properly and have tread in good condition.
  • Clear snow, ice, or dirt from your windows, vehicle hood, lights, and camera.

 Winter Travel

  • Change your travel plans if hazardous weather is expected.
  • Check road conditions before you leave the house: https://dot.ca.gov/.
  • Maintain a full tank of fuel.
  • Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
  • Do not attempt to drive (or walk) across running water more than a few inches deep.
  • Avoid driving in water that downed electrical or power lines have fallen in.
  • Avoid hydroplaning by driving slowly and keeping your tires inflated correctly.

 For more information on how to prepare for winter and safe travel:

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