California closing passes ahead of Sierra storm |

California closing passes ahead of Sierra storm

Kurt Hildebrand
A few trees retain color in Hope Valley.
Jay Aldrich

This weekend’s impending storm has prompted the California Department of Transportation to close Ebbetts, Sonora and Tioga passes over the Sierra.

Highway 4 from Silver Creek Campground to Lake Alpine will close noon Thursday while Sonora Pass will close from Pickel to Kennedy meadows at midnight.

Both California and Yosemite National Park will be closing the eastern gates at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Monitor Pass will remain open unless weather conditions force its closure.

The partial reopening of the passes depends on the weather, according to CalTrans, which will assess them on Monday.

The passes typically close for the season in late November or early December. It has been 13 years since the three passes closed for the season in October.

Snow levels are expected to drop just below 6,000 feet on Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Peak wind gusts are expected to hit 30-40 mph in Carson Valley on Friday and Saturday, according to Meteorologist Chris Smallcomb.

A conservative estimate is that Carson Pass will see 18-24 inches of snow this weekend, with up to 3 feet arriving should the storm be colder and wetter.

Carson Valley residents could see between a quarter and half an inch of rain depending on how much moisture the storm is carrying.

Smallcomb said gusty winds will start Thursday evening and continue into Saturday. Light rain and snow in the mountains could start as early as Friday. Snow levels are expected to drop on Saturday.

Another storm is forecast for Monday with light snow and potentially a stronger storm on Nov. 8-9.

For road conditions in Nevada, visit In California road conditions are available at

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