It’s shaping up to be a big rainy weekend across California as one of the season’s biggest storms moves south, with heavy snow blanketing the Sierra Nevada on Saturday and overnight rain expected in Los Angeles.
The Bay Area woke up Saturday with flood warnings in low-lying areas of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, as well as wind gust warnings of up to 55 miles per hour in some areas. A flash flood watch was also issued for the Colorado, Dolan and River fire areas in Monterey County.
In the mountains, over Interstate 80 and along Donner Pass toward Lake Tahoe, the storm was expected to intensify late Saturday afternoon and into Sunday, forecasters said, with near Soda Springs and the Sugar Bowl resort 2 through 4 feet more snow was expected Saturday morning reported 65 inches of concentrated power at its summit.
“A severe winter storm will bring EXTREMELY dangerous mountain travel this weekend,” Sacramento’s National Weather Service tweeted. “Conditions are deteriorating rapidly as heavy snow continues to fall combined with strong, gusty winds. MOUNTAIN RIDES ARE STRONGLY NOT ADVISED!”
The storm could dump up to 6 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra and up to 5 feet on certain peaks in the northern Coast Ranges and southern Cascades in Shasta County.
Weather officials say precipitation should hit Southern California around 10 p.m. Saturday, with 1 to 3 inches of rain overnight over the coast and valleys and up to 6 inches near the foothills. Unlike the storm earlier this week, which swept through northern California but ebbed before arriving in Los Angeles, this storm is expected to be much more stable.
“It may start raining in the evening, but the heaviest rain will mainly fall in the nighttime hours, likely before sunrise … and then some lighter showers later in the day tomorrow,” Kristen Stewart, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said Saturday. “And after that first round of rain… some shower activity is possible through Sunday and then possibly Monday as well.”
A winter storm warning is in effect through Monday afternoon for the interior mountain areas of Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, where 8 to 16 inches of snow is expected to accumulate above 7,000 feet. Drivers should expect icy roads and travel delays along the Tejon Pass and Grapevine area of Interstate 5.
Weather officials are cautiously optimistic about the state’s rainfall to date for this water year, which began Oct. 1. Downtown Los Angeles typically gets about 2 inches of rain at this point, Stewart said, and rainfall from this one storm alone is likely to exceed that metric.
The fresh snow expected this weekend could also be a much-needed boost for Sierra Nevada’s snowpack, which is vital for long-term water storage, as communities across California anticipate the driest three-year period on record.
However, many warn that it’s too early to say how much relief California could have from the drought. Cory Mueller, a weather forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, noted that California had an extremely wet start to last winter — including record-breaking rainfall and even a “bomb cyclone” — that ultimately did little to combat the drought.
“We had record-breaking snow cover in the Sierra in late December, and then … we didn’t see anything in the new calendar year,” Mueller said. “So it’s hard to get overly excited, but this storm is a good place to start. We’re going to take it where we can get it… and hopefully we can keep it that way.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-10/pouring-rain-expected-overnight-in-southern-california-snow-in-the-sierra Rain expected overnight in Southern California