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Heavy snowstorms out West for weekend truckers

Impacts mostly over high-elevation mountain passes

A series of Pacific storms means weekend truckers will have to deal with periods of heavy snowfall and gusty winds out West. Disruptive weather could linger into next week in some areas.

Drivers will have to chain up, at various times, before heading over the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada, Cascades and Rockies. They should expect potential road closures and temporary delays on sections of Interstates 5, 80 and 90.

The heaviest snowfall, possibly totaling 12 inches or more, will probably hit the Sierra Nevada Friday in eastern California. This is mainly for places like Devils Postpile, Florence Lake, Lake Thomas Edison, Tuolumne Meadows and Shaver Lake, which are above 5,000 feet. Wind gusts in these areas could reach 45 mph Friday, with whiteout conditions possible. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory, which is set to expire late Friday night.

Snow will not be as heavy in far eastern California and far western Nevada, but winds will be an issue Friday and Saturday. Winds will likely gust up to 40 mph in the lower elevations, 80 to 100 mph along ridgetops, except for Mono County, where valley gusts could reach 50 mph. Still, this is enough to bring choppy lake conditions, difficult travel for truckers and turbulence for airfreight.

Snowfall will gradually fade Saturday in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades, moving into the Wasatch Range in Utah and the Colorado Rockies, where it could be heavy at times. Another round of snowfall could return Monday to the Sierra Nevada.

There’s a chance of strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall the first few days of next week, from the Plains to the Great Lakes. Look for weather updates throughout the week on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.