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Strawberry residents hunker down as wind, snow hits the Sierra

Snow, wind make difficult drive up to Echo Summit
Snow, wind make difficult drive up to Echo Summit 02:32

ECHO SUMMIT - On Highway 50, some foothill communities aren't seeing snow, but towards Echo Summit, it is a different story. 

Echo Summit seemed fine until you got up to the pass itself. Once past Strawberry, it gets tricky. Thankfully not many cars were on the road, which is good news for the full-time residents up the mountain.

Mary and Jeff Wyckoff are used to storms like this. In Strawberry, they're bunkered down and ready to go.

"We got plenty of wood so we've got the woodfired stove," Jeff said. "We're covered. If we lose power we got the generator we got the wood. We lose the generator, we got another generator and the wood."

They've lived in Strawberry for seven years but this storm is unique for one reason: the whipping winds that can make a drive up Echo Summit difficult.

"A lot of these trees are unstable from the fire so with the heavy snow the trees are really waving and there's a good chance they could fall," Mary said.

While some came up to experience the fun of the snow, coming up to ski was not recommended.

"If you don't have to go, don't go. We'll have plenty of snow throughout March," said John O'Connell, with Caltrans District 3.

Nor was it an option on Friday.

"We were really impressed the ski resorts closed to deter people from trying to come up," Mary said.

This is good news for the Wyckoff's, who feel Caltrans, PG&E and other utilities were ahead of the curve for this storm.

"That usually prevents a lot of accidents and search and rescue. They tried to prepare. It was good," Mary said.

CBS13 talked to a couple of drivers off camera who agreed that the snow wasn't the issue. It's when the wind whips and you can't see the edges of the road or the cars coming down. This is why the recommendation of waiting for the storm to pass is so strong. 

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