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Blizzard conditions hit mountain pass

Wind-driven snow is limiting visibility on Siskiyou Pass, where chains are required.

Full chain restrictions for all vehicles except for four-wheel-drives have been in place since Monday night on the Interstate 5 pass.

The Oregon Department of Transportation reported 12 inches of new snow overnight, but crews kept the pass open. Just before 10 a.m. the department's travel information Web site reported an additional 4 inches of new snow, for a total of 48 inches of snow on the roadside now.

The automated weather station at the pass reported that it was snowing hard and continuously at about 10:30 a.m. The average wind speed was 11 mph out of the southwest, but gusts up to 20 mph had been recorded. Visibility was a tenth of a mile.

Sexton Mountain Pass and Smith Hill Summit each have spots of ice and snow flurries, but no new snow building up on the interstate. Drivers must carry chains.

Chains are required for large vehicles and those towing loads on Green Springs Summit on Highway 66 and Highway 140 at Lake of the Woods.

A blizzard warning is in effect until 10 p.m. today in the Siskiyous and Cascades. An additional 5 to 10 inches of new snow is expected today along the Cascades north of Highway 140. Another 3 to 6 inches are expected south of Highway 140 and across the Siskiyous. The snow will combine with sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and gust of up to 60 mph at elevations above 5,000 feet to restrict visibility and make travel extremely dangerous.

In California, chains are required for all but four-wheel-drive vehicles between Fawndale, just north of Redding, and the Oregon state line. Vehicles are being screened to make sure they are prepared for winter driving, the California Department of Transportation reported.

A snow and blowing snow advisory is in effect in much of northeastern California. It warns of blowing snow, limited visibility and drifts. A winter snow warning has been posted for the area around Mount Shasta. It predicts 4 to 8 inches of snow by 4 p.m. and wind gusts of up to 45 mph.

— Anita Burke