A major storm will bury parts of the Sierra Nevada in several feet of snowfall over the next few days, putting a wrench in freight flows and supply chains across the region.
This range, as well as other mountain ranges out West, have already seen rounds of snowfall over the past several days. But this storm will be the strongest and perhaps the most dangerous for truckers, impacting travel on Interstate 80 from eastern California to Nevada.
A powerful cold front will hit the West Coast by Tuesday afternoon, trudging across several states through Friday afternoon. Ample Pacific moisture will feed into the storm, helping produce heaping amounts of snowfall not just in the Sierra Nevada but in parts of the Cascades and Rockies too.
The worst conditions will be in the following areas, where 5 feet or more of snowfall could accumulate: Mammoth Lakes and the greater Lake Tahoe area; greater Reno-Carson City area; Lassen Volcanic National Park and western slopes of the northern Sierra Nevada; in addition to the Mount Shasta region.
Wind gusts in these areas will reach 40 to 60 mph, leading to blowing snow and whiteout conditions. Along the Sierra Crest, gusts could hit 80 mph. Road closures are a good bet on I-80, as well as U.S. Highways 50 and 395.
Lower elevations will also be covered in snow. Portions of the Sacramento Valley could see up to 18 inches, including Redding, Red Bluff and Paradise. This will impact parts of I-5.
The storm should fade sometime Friday evening or Friday night, only to be followed by another possible weekend snowstorm.