The crash occurred on Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevadas as a powerful winter storm raked northern California. It unleashed a small tornado that tore the roof off a business and brought heavy rains to lowlands and snow to the mountains.
CHP Sgt. Curtis Fouyer says one big rig crashed and rolled over two or three cars and then other vehicles slammed into the mess about 1:30 p.m. Friday near Yuba Gap, 70 miles east of Sacramento.
A man who appears to be in his 60s died. Authorities say about 20 other people had moderate injuries.
A flood watch was in effect for much of the Central Valley and a winter storm warning for the Sierra Nevada mountains, where as much as 3 feet of snow was predicted by Saturday.