This just in from NOAA’s National Weather Service:
The first cold storm of the season will impact northwest California beginning Friday night. This event will bring low elevation snow over the weekend, and may also produce small hail to the coast. Black ice and rock slides are also possible on the passes. This storm is being caused by polar air currently residing in Alaska and northern Canada that will drop south into the region this weekend and through the middle of next week.
Snow showers and hail can catch travelers by surprise. Folks should drive slower in general to provide more time to react to one of these hazards, and they should really focus on the road ahead so they notice the telltale signs of danger. As Troy Nicolini with the National Weather Service in Eureka puts it: ” If you find yourself driving into unsettled thunderstorm weather, you should be anticipating slippery conditions and slow down well in advance. If you do find yourself suddenly driving on a hail or snow covered road, don’t slam on your brakes. Instead, ease off the gas pedal to slow down gradually.”
Also watch for black ice on bridges and on low sections of roads that are shaded, and slow down before you reach an area of concern. Be on alert for rock slides as you round corners on roads in steep areas. Highway 299 is especially prone to rock slides. Travelers should also expect some snow accumulations over the passes along highways 101, 199, 299, and 36.
Those planning travel this weekend and early next week should keep informed of the latest weather forecast and road conditions.
For weather: www.weather.gov/eureka or 707-443-7062
For the most current road conditions on all California State highways, contact the Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) : at 1-800-427-7623 (1-800-GAS-ROAD) or http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo
UPDATED at 2:04 p.m.
HSU issues storm warning:
The Humboldt State University Police Department is urging students and the campus community at large to be prepared for a severe winter storm beginning Friday night that could strike with black ice, hail and snow on Highways 101, 299 and 36 this weekend. UPD is asking everyone on campus to consult the National Weather Service regularly at 707/443-7062 or http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka. Road conditions are available at 800/427-7623 or http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi. UPD recommends that motorists reduce speeds and carry traction devices such as chains or cables. The highest elevations of Route 101 approach 2,000 feet above sea level. Passes on Highways 299 and 36 exceed 3,000 feet. Those elevations are forecast to receive snow early Saturday morning. The National Weather Service reports that polar air over Alaska and northern Canada will envelop the Humboldt region through the middle of next week with snow levels projected to drop to about 1,000 feet by Saturday morning north of Cape Mendocino.
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