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Landslides close California highway

Part of state Route 70 shut down in Plumas County

A powerful Sunday storm drenched wildfire-scarred Northern California, triggering floods and mudslides, while heavy winds toppled utility poles and trees.


Related: Colorado trucking company takes ‘huge hit’ from I-70 closures


The California Department of Transportation reported several landslides on state Highway 70 in Plumas County, which is still closed from Tobin to Paxton. This is about a 45-mile stretch in the northeastern part of the state and is in the area where the Dixie fire burned this summer.

“Burn scars, that’s the area where the water tends to run off quicker, so that’s where the biggest flash-flood risks are,” National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Chenard told Reuters.

The Dixie fire was the second-largest wildfire on record in California history.

A risk of flash flooding and more landslides continues this week for many areas of the Northwestern U.S. as additional periods of heavy rain slam the region. Heavy snow will hit the Sierra Nevada, Wasatch Range and other high elevation areas, possibly totaling 2 to 3 feet.

Dangerous winds will also make driving treacherous for truckers, with gusts exceeding 50 mph in some places, increasing the threat of rollovers. Blowing snow will produce occasional whiteout conditions.

Major lanes of concern

• California state Route 70 from Tobin to Paxton.
• Interstate 5 from Sacramento, California, to Seattle.
• Interstate 70 from Denver to the Interstate 15 junction in Utah.
• Interstate 80 from Reno, Nevada, to Salt Lake City.
• Interstate 84 from Portland, Oregon, to Boise, Idaho.
• Interstate 90 from Butte, Montana, to Seattle.
• Trans-Canada Highway from Vancouver to Skihist Provincial Park.

Other notable weather this week

Storms Monday could produce severe winds, large hail, localized flash flooding and a few tornadoes from eastern Tennessee to parts of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The risk of severe storms and tornadoes increases Tuesday and will be focused in the Plains, from Kansas to Oklahoma City and northern Texas. By Wednesday, the threat shifts to the Gulf Coast, where places from Houston to New Orleans and Mobile will be under the gun.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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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.