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Heavy snowfall possible from northern Calif. to western Colo., US, Dec. 6-8

12/6/2013
Heavy snowfall is possible from northern California to western Colorado as a cold front tracks eastward across these regions Dec. 6-8.
 
Parts of western Colorado might be at risk for disruptive snow through the early morning of Dec. 9. It is unclear whether the storm will produce significant flight disruptions, but delays are possible at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). Walker Field Airport (GJT) and other regional airports, particularly those with flights connecting through SLC, are also at risk for delays. 

Blowing and drifting snow could produce hazardous conditions on roadways and result in commercial trucking delays, particularly on I-70 and I-80. Transportation authorities could implement traffic restrictions and chain controls on mountain passes. Significant ground transportation disruptions are most likely in the following areas:
  • Northern California: Heavy snowfall could cause commercial trucking disruptions on I-5 between Redding and the Oregon border and on I-80 from the Sierra Nevada foothills in Placer County to the Nevada border. Caltrans will probably require chain controls on these routes. Disruptions on I-5 will likely be greatest from north of Redding to southern Siskiyou County, where snow accumulations of up to 15 inches are possible. On I-80, snowfall of up to 12 inches and moderate to strong wind gusts could produce large drifts and whiteout conditions around Donner Pass and Lake Tahoe.
  • Northern Nevada: Trucking delays are possible along the entire I-80 corridor. Weather conditions in the Reno area are unlikely to be disruptive, though delays on I-80 in California could affect shipments passing through the city. On I-80 east of Reno, snow and wind could create difficult or hazardous travel conditions and delay cargo shipments passing through Battle Mountain and Elko.
  • Utah: The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm watches for the entire state of Utah. Disruptive weather conditions are possible in the state through 1300 MST Dec. 8. Snowfall of up to seven inches is possible in valleys, and accumulations could reach 20 inches in mountain areas; the potential for blowing and drifting snow exists. Trucking disruptions might occur along the I-15, I-70, and I-80 corridors.
  • Western Colorado: The NWS has issued winter storm watches for much of western Colorado from Vail to the Utah border through 0500 MST Dec. 9. Snowfall of up to 12 inches and winds reaching 20 mph are possible throughout the region. Blowing and drifting snow, along with snow covered road surfaces, could produce transport disruptions on I-70 between Mesa County and Vail.
Advice
Consider postponing driving in areas where heavy snowfall is forecast; seek updated information on road conditions and carry warm clothes and an emergency kit if driving is absolutely necessary. Do not check out of hotels before confirming flights.