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New, Cold Storm Will Bring More Heavy Snow To California This Weekend

This weekend, a new, cold storm approaches the coast of California, and several feet of snow is expected in mountain ranges 

Several more feet of snow is on tap for some mountains in California this weekend, as a new, cold storm moves ashore in the West, according to AccuWeather forecasters. It will mark a continuation of the recent stormy pattern which has pummeled the Golden State with heavy rain and snow.

For the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it will add to a snowpack on the ground that is currently over 100 inches and a total snowfall that already is above the historical average for an entire season.

Storm-weary residents of Southern California, still reeling from the last pair of winter storms, will largely be spared of impacts from the new weekend storm, which will focus its energy and moisture on central and northern parts of the state.

Precipitation from the new storm will push ashore from late Friday night into early Saturday, first impacting western Washington state and Oregon and then northwestern California. Since fresh, cold air will accompany the storm, snow levels will be very low, perhaps down to 500 feet for a time, which means any rain would be limited to deeper valleys and the coast.

The heaviest snow will target Northern California, including the Sierra Nevada, in a few waves from late Saturday morning through Monday. Accumulating snow can occur as low as 1,000 feet , which would blanket parts of the valley floor across the northern Sacramento Valley. The heaviest amounts will be above 3,000 feet, where a fresh 2 to 5 feet of snow is expected.

The heaviest snow will target Northern California, including the Sierra Nevada, in a few waves from late Saturday morning through Monday. ACCUWEATHER

While the heavy snow will continue to prove a boon to ski resorts, travel will be impacted or impossible for a time. “Periodic road closures can be expected over Donner Summit along Interstate 80, as well as in the high ground along Interstate 5 in the northern part of California and southern Oregon,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

In addition to the prolific amounts of snow, the wind will also pose a risk for travelers.

“Winds won’t be quite as strong this go around, compared to the last round of storms, but can still be strong enough to contribute to poor visibility and cause blowing and drifting snow,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Heather Zehr.

For the coast and lower elevations, mainly rain will fall, and it will not be as heavy as seen in recent storms. Rainfall amounts will tally a half inch or less across much of the San Francisco Bay Area, with the rain likely proving to be more of a weekend nuisance than a serious concern for flooding.

Due to the storms, a state of emergency has been declared in 13 countries. ACCUWEATHER

Due to the recent storminess, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in 13 counties on Wednesday, mainly in central and southern parts of the state. Fortunately, as rescue and recovery efforts continue in Southern California, the new storm will largely spare that portion of the state.

“The storm track will be well to the north of Southern California, and most mountainous areas will not get the heavy snow that northern parts of the state will,” said Zehr. “There can, however, be small accumulations of less than 6 inches through the Transverse ranges.”

This weekend, several feet of fresh snow is predicted for the Sierra, following localized reports of 7 feet of new snow falling ending on Tuesday. ACCUWEATHER

The several feet of additional snow expected in the Sierra this weekend comes on the heels of some localized reports of 7 feet of fresh snow that fell in a 72-hour period ending Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. At Palisades Tahoe ski resort, where 92 inches of fresh snow was reported earlier this week, the seasonal total is up to an incredible 539 inches.

As California continues to recover from a long-term drought, the heavy snow will continue to prove beneficial for the state’s water supply both now and later in the spring when it melts.

The recent Drought Monitor report demonstrates a dramatic drop in the drought conditions previously witnessed in California in the month of October 2022. ACCUWEATHER

According to statistics kept by California’s Department of Water Resources, the northern, central and southern Sierra ranges are all already above average for snowfall for an entire season (that ends April 1). The amount of water contained in the 100-plus inch snowpack ranges from 39 to 46 inches, which in parts of the Sierra is 200 percent of normal.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, which was released on Thursday, showed a dramatic drop in the percentage of the state currently in drought conditions. Less than half of the state, 49.1 percent, is now considered to be in a drought, which is down dramatically from 84.6 percent last week. That percentage will continue to be whittled down in the coming weeks from additional storms, according to AccuWeather’s team of long-range forecasters.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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