Sheriff's Office to Snow Goers: 'Please Stay Home'

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The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is urging North Coast residents to refrain from traveling to "play in the snow" that's coming down in higher elevations throughout the county, saying it spent the weekend helping folks who got stuck or snowed in.

"HCSO special services deputies, along with county partners, have been working tirelessly all weekend to rescue community members stuck or snowed in due to snow levels throughout the interior of our county," the department said in a social media post. "Many high elevation roadways are completely impassable — even for those who have 4WD. For the safety of yourself and our staff, please do not risk it."

For those currently snowed in, the HCSO advises it is trying to reach those who are running out of emergency supplies to evacuate them from their homes should their situations become "life-threatening." Due to limited resources, however, deputies are unable to deliver supplies to those in need, according to the post.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said his deputies have been very busy, doing welfare checks on people stuck in their homes and responding to other weather related emergencies. Frustratingly, though, he said some have added to the department's burden by traveling needlessly, whether taking a "scenic" drive over Bald Hills Road only to end up stuck or heading to higher elevations to sled or recreate. Honsal said the department's Snowcat vehicle has been busy. He urged people who can to stay home.

"We just want people to be safe and stay home and not put themselves in a situation to be rescued," he said.

Snow conditions are expected to worsen in the coming days, with a winter storm warning going into effect from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday, with heavy snow forecast at elevations above 1,500 feet. Total snow accumulations are expected to range from 4 inches to 1 foot, with light accumulations possible as low as 500 feet.

The National Weather Service warns that travel in some areas could be "very difficult to impossible." Those who need to travel are encouraged to pack an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicles, as well as warm clothes, in case of an emergency.

U.S. Highway 101 closed briefly this morning north of Willits due to snow and a crashed big rig truck, but is re-opened to controlled traffic. Additional closures of it and State Route 299 are possible, so anyone traveling should check the latest conditions with Caltrans.

But various agencies are advising that those who can avoid travel during the storm should do so.

The HCSO says that anyone in need of assistance should call its main line at (707) 445-7251 or 911 in the case of an emergency.

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