Caltrans announced Tuesday that high country passes will be closed in anticipation of upcoming storms.

Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass, Highway 89 over Monitor Pass and Highway 108 over Sonora Pass will be closed a noon Wednesday.

The preemptive closing is necessary for the safety of motorists and Caltrans crews, a release stated.

For the latest road conditions, tune the radio to the Caltrans Highway Advisory Radio at 530 AM or 1610 AM, or call Road Conditions Hotline at 800-427-7623. Also keep an eye out for changeable message signs with flashing beacons that will have information regarding pass closures.

Winter weather road conditions change rapidly. Motorists should expect the worst conditions and be prepared. All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive or snow tires, should carry chains when traveling during snowy weather. Those who don't have chains in their possession may not be allowed to proceed. When highway signs indicate that chairs are required, drivers must stop and install chains at the risk of being cited and fines.

As of Tuesday afternoon there were no chain control restrictions.

Protecting pipes from freezing

The weather has been frigid as of late, and the risk of exposed pipes freezing is higher than ever.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District recommends that residents protect their exposed water lines and automatic irrigations valves during continued nighttime freezing conditions.

Exposed water lines and valves can be damaged if the water inside them freezes. Water expands as it freezes, and the force of expansion can be enough to crack pipes or break joints. Plumbing exposed to the open air, such as automatic irrigation valves or water service lines before they enter buildings, is most vulnerable to freeze damage.

To prevent freezing damage, customers should wrap exposed plumbing leading to and from their house valve, in the garage or in crawl spaces with insulating material from their hardware or home improvement store.

Automatic irrigations valves control water to a set of sprinklers or drip emitters. Protect them from freezing by location the shut-off valve in the water line and shutting it off. Then use your irrigation timer to turn on each valve for a minute to drain water from those pipes.

Do not try to prevent freezing by opening a faucet to keep water moving in the pipes. It will not work and will waste water, an EBMUD release stated.