Winter Storm Warning and Travel Updates – December 27, 2021


Northeast California has been hit hard with this winter storm. I-80 and 50 continue to be shut down with the tremendous amount of snow and whiteout conditions. Due to the high winds large snow drifts are also making travel difficult. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow lab has recorded 194 inches of snow over I-80, breaking the 1970 snow record for December with more on the way.

Additionally Northbound / Southbound Hwy 49 is under Full Closure from Route 70 to Sierra/Plumas County Line Due to WINTER WEATHER CLOSURE. No estimated time for reopening of closure. The Sierra Sheriff’s office is warning travelers that hwy 49 is not an alternative to bypass Donner Pass. Hwy 395 was no exception to the winter weather conditions. The highway was closed for over 12 hours, just re-opening at 10:30am. Multiple vehicles remain abandoned on the side of the road from losing control and spinning into the side of the roadway. Lassen County Sheriff Growdon shared they have worked with the Susanville Community Church to set up a shelter for those who were stranded overnight. There was even a multiple car pileup that occurred by Hicks lane in the Humphrey Hill area due to the severe conditions.

State Route 70 is now open, from the junction with 395 to Quincy at Lee Road, following its closure.

HWY 89 remains closed from the Sierra County line to the south junction with State Route 70.

If you do not need to travel today into tomorrow you are advised to stay home. And do not trust Google or Apple maps to have the latest road closures especially county roads, as Growden shared these are not being maintained with the limited man power.

The winter storm warning will remain in place through 1 am tomorrow morning. Caltrans District 2 is predicting that all the high sierra hwys will be heavily impacted Snow levels continue to drop down to 1000 feet heading into this week. Moderate snowfall is expected through Wednesday, and the Reno National Weather Service’s winter storm warning states the area will be seeing the coldest temperatures in nearly five years for many areas. Heavy snow is expected to begin diminishing by this afternoon. Additional snow accumulations of up to one inch along 395 can be seen, with 3 to 6 inches for areas west of 395, and locally up to 12 inches near Yuba Pass.

For your New Years eve the weather does calm down and will be dry but will be colder than normal.

The National Weather Service warns that snow showers remain possible almost any day this week, with the best chances being Wednesday and Friday. If you plan to travel for the upcoming holiday you could see more delays and closures these days as there may be significant snowfall impacting the roadways, especially in the Sierras.