Cold Winter Storm Impacts Travel in Northern California

I-5 winter travel | I-5 Exit Guide

The California Department of Transportation is alerting motorists to be prepared for winter driving conditions as an intense cold storm is underway for the Northern California area.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning for a weather system expected to continue through Friday morning. Episodes of heavy rainfall are expected in the northern Sacramento Valley turning to snow above 3,000 feet as the cold storm moves into the Sierra. Lake Tahoe locations are also expecting significant snow accumulations.

This storm will result in winter driving conditions throughout the area, including areas of localized flooding. Strong winds are also forecast, creating low visibility from white-out conditions in the higher elevations. As winds and rain diminish, fog is expected to occur in Valley locations.

Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit and on other Sierra mountain roadways should be anticipated Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning. Caltrans permitted and trained chain installers on Interstate 80 can be identified by a reflective sign with their bib number.

Severe weather may slow motorists, resulting in roadway congestion. Wet and slippery roadways reduce tire traction, especially at high vehicle speeds. Hydroplaning caused by vehicle speed and rain accumulations on the roadway can result in loss of driver control. Motorists are encouraged to slow down.


  • Understand that winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and allow for extra travel time.
  • Make sure you share the route you intend to take with friends or family.
  • Exercise patience and respect for other motorists.

Caltrans crews will be working around the clock to keep the roadways open and clear. Motorists are urged to be “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

On the road? Why not take us with you. Our websites are mobile-friendly! Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

Previous articleLane Closures for I-5 Construction in Washington State
Next articleTake a Winter Getaway and Discover Why Seattle is a Cultural Hotspot
I-5 Exit Guide
One of the most complete road travel resources of its kind on the Internet! The Interstate 5 Exit Information Guide features exit service listings for the entire length of I-5 from Washington to California! Food, gas, lodging, rest areas, attractions and more…