January 17, 2022

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70-mile stretch of I-80 in Sierra closed due to Tahoe snowstorm – SF Gate

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Whiteout conditions have closed a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in the Sierra as a blustery Christmas weekend storm dumps snow on the Tahoe area.

As of Sunday morning, I-80 remains closed from Colfax to the Nevada state line with no reopening in sight. To the north, State Route 49 is closed from Camptonville to Sierraville. Highway 50 is closed from Echo Summit to Meyers due to “multiple spinouts,” Caltrans said.

Roads all over the Sierra are currently considered dangerous for drivers, with low visibility, high winds and snow. Even on roads that are not closed, Truckee and Tahoe fire departments have been reporting spinouts throughout the weekend. If you must take to the roads, chains are required.

“Wondering why I-80 is currently closed?” CHP Truckee tweeted on Christmas morning, accompanied by a video so snowy that no road could be discerned. “Here’s what I-80 looks like right now.”

A winter storm warning is in effect throughout the Greater Lake Tahoe area until 1 a.m. Tuesday. Heavy snow and wind gusts up to 45 mph are forecast, with “widespread whiteout conditions.” 

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. Very strong winds could cause extensive tree damage,” the National Weather Service cautioned. “Roads and highways may be closed for extended periods of time.”

The weather service says travel should be avoided if possible, as “you could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours.” Those who must travel should “prepare for long delays and carry an emergency kit with extra food, water and clothing.”

Interstate 80 was closed from Colfax in Placer County to the Nevada state line due to whiteout conditions.

Interstate 80 was closed from Colfax in Placer County to the Nevada state line due to whiteout conditions.

Caltrans District 3 / Twitter

Some Tahoe ski resorts saw 2 feet of snow on Saturday — with more on the way. Twenty inches fell on Homewood on the west shore, while Northstar received a foot of snow from Friday night into Saturday. The weather service is forecasting additional snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet through early Tuesday, and 2 to 3 feet in elevations above 7,000 feet.

You can check the latest road closures here.

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