Whiteout Conditions Shut Down I-80 In Sierra

TRUCKEE (CBS SF) — Whiteout conditions in the Sierra have shut down traffic on I-80 in both directions with no projected time of reopening, according to authorities.

The Placer County Sheriff Twitter account posted the announcement Sunday night.

Further tweets clarified that trucks were being turned around at Applegate, while cars were being stopped at Colfax.

CHP officers in Truckee had announced earlier Sunday night that I-80 was shut down due to heavy snow and poor visibility in the westbound direction at the Nevada State Line and eastbound in Colfax.

Local traffic is being permitted.

Late Sunday night, Caltrans District 3 tweeted that a break in the storm would allow crews to do some work on I-80, giving an estimated time of reopening at 1:30 a.m. once the roadway was cleared.

After years of drought, the Sierra has been buried under as much as 35 feet of snow as a series of winter storms have blanketed the region.

Sunday was no different as the latest wintry blast triggered slow going on all roads at the Summit, dumping as much as 3 feet of new snow at the higher elevations.

Days of snow has ski resort owners overjoyed after years of struggling to keep their runs open.

Jess VanPernis Weaver, spokesman for the Sugarbowl ski resort, said the storms have dumped 282 inches at the base an 442 at the higher elevations.

Over the last seven days, he said, more then six feet of snow had fallen.

The Sierra Avalanche Center has issued its highest level warning for the region saying “danger exists at all elevations and large, deep, destructive human triggered avalanches are very likely today.”

The Alpine Meadows area was under voluntary evacuation due to the avalanche danger. The advisory was in effect specifically for residents for all areas of the valley.

The Placer County Office Emergency Services said the order could become mandatory if conditions worsen as Sunday’s storms moved through the area.

The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning in place until 4 a.m. Monday.

Forecasters say at least 1-2 feet of snow could fall west of Highway 89 with winds gusts of 35 mph drifting snow at the lower elevations with hurricane gusts as high as 120 mph on the Sierra Ridge.

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