Heavy snow, strong winds lead to closure of Interstate 80

Caltrans closed Interstate 5 at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday due to near-zero visibility and blowing snow.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Heavy snow is in the process of blanketing the Sierra and has led to a closure of a highway with no estimated time it will reopen and chain restrictions at Lake Tahoe.

The combination of strong winds and heavy snow have made travel impossible on Interstate 80. Powerful winds have been gustin well above triple digits on Sierra ridges.

A wind gust at Palisades Tahoe hit 154 mph at about 11 a.m. according to summit observations data and averaged between 70-90 all morning.

The snow started falling heavier Saturday afternoon and Caltrans said just after 3:45 p.m. it closed Interstate 5 between Kingvale and Truckee because of “blowing snow” and “near zero visibility.” 

Traffic is being turned around in Kingvale for eastbound travelers and at Truckee for those westbound, Caltrans said.

Chain controls are in effect over mountain passes leading to and from Tahoe and also on some basin highways, including from Stateline on U.S. Highway 50 to near Carson City, on Nevada State Route 28 from the US-50 junction through Crystal Bay and in the Tahoma area on California State Route 89.

The National Weather Service has a winter weather warning through 4 a.m. Monday and are calling for 4 feet above 7,000 feet and up to 2 feet is possible for lake communities. If traveling check road conditions at, or call 511.

The Interstate 5 closure.

Correction: This story was updated with the correct highway closure information.

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