While showers have been light Tuesday and Wednesday in Sacramento, blankets of snow are falling in the mountains once again.
Four weather systems passing through Northern California are bringing multiple snowstorms to the Sierra through Saturday, with National Weather Service and Caltrans officials warning that snow totals of 5 feet or more in some areas south of Tahoe could seriously affect travel.
NWS has issued a winter storm warning, effective 10 p.m. Wednesday through 4 a.m. Friday, with as much as 3 or 4 feet of localized snowfall possible both north and south of Lake Tahoe in that span. An additional foot 8 to 12 inches is forecast to fall Friday night through Saturday in South Lake Tahoe, forecasts show.
Caltrans announced that seasonal closures of Ebbetts, Monitor and Sonora passes went into effect Wednesday morning. Ebbetts Pass (on Highway 4), Monitor Pass (Highway 89) and Sonora Pass (Highway 108) will be closed for the rest of winter.
Both storms will hit hardest in Mono and Alpine counties, according to an NWS forecast synopsis.
NWS Sacramento tweeted that travel conditions will “quickly become poor” Wednesday night. Chain controls went into effect on snowy parts of Highway 50 for about a two-hour period Wednesday morning.
All of this comes just a week after another winter storm hit around Thanksgiving, bringing snow to the Sierra region and chain controls on Highway 50 near the summit.
Caltrans reminded drivers that the speed limit is 25 mph on Highway 50 when chain controls are in place.
As for Sacramento, forecasts call for showers Wednesday evening through Friday morning, followed by heavier rain possible Friday and Saturday, with highs in the mid-50s all week. The rain is predicted to clear out by Sunday.
A wind advisory is also in place for Wednesday night, with gusts as high as 30 mph possible, NWS said. Thunderstorms are also possible Wednesday.
California drivers can check travel conditions in the mountains and elsewhere at quickmap.dot.ca.gov.
Drivers are also urged to double-check tires, batteries, brakes and chains before heading to the mountains, and to keep emergency supply kits, including food and water, in their vehicles as a precaution.