Northern California got snow for the holidays, but no one is celebrating the havoc it’s caused. Holiday travel is already stressful. Factor in snow and wind, and you’ve got a potential disaster on your hands. On Sunday, 111 miles of California highway shut down after a particularly brutal blizzard hit.
Running from Placerville to Meyers in California, Highway 50 shuttered in the wake of this snowy emergency. Winds reaching 100 mph and snow caused low visibility. It led to California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials to announce the shutdown with “no estimated time of reopening.” But this isn’t the only bad news for California highways.
On Dec. 25, 70 miles of Interstate Highway 80 shut down. The road running from Colfax, California to the Nevada border was still closed as of Sunday. The culprit? Snowfall that caused “zero visibility,” according to officials.
“Caltrans working around the clock and combating the storm to keep I-80 maintained,” Caltrans District Three reported on Twitter. “Earlier this afternoon, crews took footage of the storm to show the poor visibility and high winds on I-80 in the Sierra. This is why I-80 is CLOSED today.”
Locals who planned to enjoy a fun ski vacation during the holidays may face the worst travel delays. Both Highway 50 and I-80 serve as major travel roads between ski resorts near the San Francisco Bay area and Nevada Border. Others may have to cancel trips.
“If you have the luxury of staying home and not having to drive today, take advantage,” said weather officials on Twitter. “Currently gusting to 52 mph and a wind chill of 6 degrees at the office. It’s very icy out with dangerous driving conditions.”
There may be a silver lining to this icy weather, though. As of October, California experienced its driest year in about a century. The snow may help combat this and the state’s extended drought. Snowy conditions are also good news for Sierra Nevada’s snowpack.
“The state Department of Water Resources reported Friday that [the snowpack] was between 114% and 137% of normal across the range with more snow expected,” according to HuffPost.
Lead image via Pixabay