Heavy snowfall makes mountain travel treacherous

PRATHER, Calif.

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On Sunday evening, it had been raining pretty steadily in Prather. Less than ten miles north of Prather at around 4,000-feet -- the snow was coming down very heavily. That has caused a traffic nightmare for drivers all day.

The California Highway Patrol spent Sunday making sure drivers heading up into the mountains along Highway 168 were well equipped.

"Right now, here at 4,000 feet, the requirements are 4-wheel-drive with snow tires, 2 wheel drives with chains or all wheel drives," said Officer Mike Trenholm with the California Highway Patrol.

Earlier in the day C.H.P. officers responded to at least six crashes and a number of spinouts around the Shaver Lake area. Some drivers waited in traffic up to two hours, others were forced to slow down and install chains.

One group of friends from Paso Robles were stuck in the parking lot at the China Peak Ski Resort while Cal Trans cleared the roadway.

"Well, they told us we had to stay there for the night, and then they came and said you have ten minutes, go now! So we did," said Doug Harris from Paso Robles.

The C.H.P. expects road conditions will remain treacherous throughout the night. They're urging all drivers to avoid the area, or use extra caution.

"I'm probably gonna be here all night long, making sure people have the proper equipment to go past this point," said Officer Trenholm.

"And we're at 4,000 feet?"

"Exactly, 4000 feet."

None of the crashes C.H.P. responded to near Shaver involved any serious injuries.

If your car does not have snow tires or chains, you will be asked to turn around.

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