Snow can make travel in the North State “dangerous,” Caltrans says

The sun shone Tuesday afternoon, but clouds building over the North State mountains were an ominous sign of snow, wind and rain warnings for later this week, while Caltrans warned motorists of possible “hazardous” travel conditions expected into Friday.

And the return to wintry conditions was not expected to be limited to higher elevations.

The National Weather Service issued an advisory Tuesday predicting significant amounts of snow in the foothills and 1 to 4 inches down to 500 feet in valley areas.

Strong winds are also forecast with gusts of 25 mph to 40 mph in the valley and foothills, the weather service said. In the higher elevations, wind speeds could reach 40 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, the weather service said.

Caltrans issued an alert Tuesday, urging motorists traveling through the mountains to slow down and prepare for wintry conditions. The agency also reminded motorists traveling through the hills to wear tire chains.

“Hazardous mountain travel is expected due to heavy snow beginning today through Friday with significant accumulations in the foothills Wednesday through Friday,” Tuesday’s Caltrans advisory said.

One to 2 feet of snow was forecast through Friday for higher elevations. The foothills could receive 6 to 12 inches, while the valley will likely receive less than 1 to 4 inches, the weather service said.

“Motorists are advised to be aware when traveling in recent fire scarred areas and look for possible areas of flooding and/or debris on roadways that may be present due to weather conditions,” Caltrans said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company officials said they were mobilizing repair crews ahead of the storm.

The weather could cause trees, limbs and other debris to fall into power lines, damaging equipment and disrupting electric service across Northern California, the utility said.

“We are encouraging customers to prepare for the storm now,” said Angie Gibson, PG&E vice president of preparedness and response. “Have an emergency plan in case you lose power and update your contact information on PG&E’s website so we can provide you with real-time updates about power outages in your neighborhood.”

Reporter Damon Arthur takes story tips at 530-338-8834, by email at and on Twitter at @damonarthur_RS. Help local journalism flourish by subscribing today.

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