NIPINNAWASEE — A powerful early season storm pounding California was causing hazardous travel conditions across the mountain area Friday morning, making roads wet and slushy — and in some cases very slick.
“Vehicles are sliding all over the roadway,” one person reported to CHP after a collision just off Highway 49 near Nipinnawasee pitted a Kia Optima against a very tall pine tree (the pine tree won).
Police and emergency medical personnel responded to that incident, which occurred Friday just before 8 a.m.
But the single-vehicle accident only involved minor injuries and emergency personnel took a report and then moved on to other accident calls.
Area tow trucks were so busy Friday morning that the Kia was not immediately towed from the scene.
The storm, which began the day before Thanksgiving, has dumped more than four feet of snow in the high Sierras and brought much needed moisture to tinder-dry mountain area forests.
As of 10 a.m. Friday morning, snow plows were operating on county roads and law enforcement authorities were advising all motorists traveling above 1,500 feet to carry chains — and slow down.
On Highway 41 as of noon Friday, Caltrans was reporting: “CHAINS ARE REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES EXCEPT 4-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES WITH SNOW TIRES ON ALL 4 WHEELS FROM 3 MI NORTH OF COARSEGOLD TO 0.5 MI SOUTH OF YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.”
*This story was updated to include most current info from Caltrans.