A severe winter storm is forecast to hit parts of Northern California over the next day, with more than a foot of snowfall and wind gusts up to 45 mph expected in higher elevations of Trinity and Siskiyou Counties. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings for these areas starting this afternoon through early tomorrow morning.
The brunt of the storm will impact elevations above 4,500 feet, where over 10 inches of snow accumulation is predicted by meteorologists. But even lower areas down to 3,500 feet could see up to 3 inches of snowfall. The NWS is warning the snow could significantly reduce visibility and make travel conditions hazardous or even impossible on mountain roads and passes.
Heavy snowfall will create dangerous driving environments and likely lead to road closures in affected counties,” said NWS incident meteorologist Thomas Wilson. “We strongly discourage travel tonight through early Wednesday across higher terrain unless absolutely necessary. Even lower elevation areas could face difficult winter weather.”
The storm system is expected to start affecting Trinity and Siskiyou Counties Tuesday early afternoon, with precipitation changing over to heavy snow by late afternoon and continuing overnight. Snowfall rates could reach up to two inches per hour during the heaviest bands Tuesday evening, accompanied by northerly winds gusting 30 to 45 mph at times. This will likely down trees and cause sporadic power outages across the region.
Wilson said snow will start tapering off by early Wednesday morning as the system finally pushes east, but bitter cold air in its wake means slippery road conditions could persist.
CALTRANS QuickMap Provides Real-Time Road Conditions
With snow and ice covering roadways, Caltrans is urging people to avoid driving in affected counties if possible. For those needing to travel, be sure to equip vehicles with tire chains, flashlights, warm blankets, non-perishable food and water. Also bring any essential medications and keep cell phones fully charged in case of emergency.
The California Department of Transportation’s QuickMap service provides real-time details on current roadway conditions across the state. Visitors can zoom in on specific locations to view information on closures, chain controls, accidents and more. QuickMap camera feeds also help drivers visually confirm winter weather impacts before heading out.
As this powerful snowstorm takes aim, staying off the roads is the best option. But for those needing to travel through the Sierra Nevadas and other elevated terrain, be prepared with emergency supplies and check QuickMap for the latest on chain controls or hazardous conditions in your area. Slow speeds, increased stopping distance and caution is key to safely navigating any wintry weather.