DONNER PASS (CBS 13) — May in the Sierra brought weekend travelers a little bit of everything, but the last thing they expected was snow.
Travelers waited out the busy roads at the Donner Pass rest area off of I-80 Westbound.
“Snow! It’s so cold. It’s May,” said Lupe Armas from Modesto. “ I never expected this”.
The majority of travelers were talking about the winter weather advisory that brought wet snow to the Sierra Nevada range above 6000 feet.
Renaldo Armas talked about just how difficult the drive was, “The roads were very wet it was pouring literally cats and dogs.”
Many travelers were held up at the Donner Pass rest area because of a major crash involving three semis that happened as a storm cell blew through the area of Blue Canyon Road and Drum Forebay Road.
One rig ruptured fuel lines causing a hazmat situation. I-80 westbound was closed for several hours as people had to wait out the clean-up.
Mike Netton with the CHP said it was a very busy afternoon.
“One big rig jackknifed which caused another to have mechanical issues, that spilled a lot of fuel,” he said. “Then, unfortunately, another truck ran through it and lost a lot of traction with his tires.”
With three crashes in a two-mile stretch, trucker Jess Drake warned of the dangers in hauling loads in unpredictable weather.
“You never know from one minute to the next, especially with the weather dropping,” he said. “You can hit black ice and you can turn a truck around or even turn it over.”
Some motorist who were held up further down the road at Blue Canyon wondered why they decided to get an early start on the road only to find themselves sitting in the two-mile-long backup.
“I could be back at the casino gambling instead of wasting my time here,” said Jamie Sherman who was trying to get home to Sacramento.
The winter weather advisory doesn’t meet the criteria for a warning, but the CHP is warning to drivers to watch their speeds and be mindful of black ice and fog.