As an upper-level low departs the Southwest, which brought snow to much of the West last weekend, a new storm will begin to move in midweek. This storm originates from Alaska and it will take a steep, southward dive into the Northwest and eventually the Southwest by this weekend. This will be a notable storm for California because snow has been scare compared to average, but with this next round of snow, it will be the heaviest so far this winter. A widespread three to five feet of snow is forecast to fall in the Sierra through this weekend. That will put some dent in the snow drought but will not relieve the situation entirely.

Beginning Wednesday, the impacts will be felt, first in the Northwest and eventually parts of the Southwest US. Snow is forecast to fall across the Cascades of Washington and Oregon and even northern California by the end of the day. Meanwhile in the lower elevations, rain showers are likely for the rest of Washington and Oregon. It’s not until Wednesday night when the activity will become more widespread with snow extending from the Washington Cascades through the Sierra Nevada. This will mark the start of days and days of heavy snow. Light snow showers may sneak into eastern Washington and Oregon as well. In terms of the wet weather, rain showers are forecast to impact coastal Washington, Oregon, and much of California. Even some heavier rain may sneak in north of the Bay Area.

Then on Thursday, our storm and the weather activity associated with it will continue to ramp up. This is because of the actual storm moving inland off from the Northwest coast. Light snow is expected to impact the Cascades and parts of the interior Northwest while heavy snow slams most of the mountains in Northern California plus the entire Sierra Nevada. A steady rain is forecast for Northern and Central California in the valleys and the Bay Area while the rain clears out of the Northwest coast. As we get into the overnight hours of Thursday, the snow will persist and may become even heavier across the Sierra and Northern California mountains. Snow will also sneak into the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California where up to a foot of snow is possible before it winds down by Saturday Meanwhile in the Northwest, colder air will begin to intrude, so a period of light snow is possible in the valleys and along the coast of Washington and Oregon. Therefore, major cities like Seattle and Portland may pick up an inch or two of snow with this system. Back toward the interior, a light to moderate snow will break out in the northern Rockies down into much of Nevada. In terms of the rain, much of California in the lower elevations will be dealing with it.

On Friday to end the work week, the weather in the Northwest will begin to dwindle while it continues to crush the Golden State. Snowfall intensities will taper in California but the snow will still be present in the mountains. Snow levels will also decrease, so portions of the coastal range, specifically south of the Bay Area, may experience a brief period of snow. For the rest of the west, scattered light to moderate snow showers across the Northwest, Nevada, and the northern and central Rockies. By this point, a city like Salt Lake City will get their dose of snow. For the rain situation, scattered rain showers will continue across California, and even some of these showers may continue small hail due to cold air aloft. Our storm will really beginning to dwindle Saturday night with the activity decreasing in coverage significantly. Most of the precipitation will shut off in the Northwest. Snow will still continue, however, across California into Nevada and the central Rockies.

Then on Saturday, the story will remain the same. Rain showers will stick around in the lower elevations of California while snow falls in the higher elevations. Snow is also expected to continue to fall in portions of Nevada and Utah. During Saturday night, all of the precipitation is forecast to clear out of California while it moves into the Southwest US.

That leads us to Sunday. This is when snow will focus itself across the Four Corners states in the southern and central Rockies. Then as we look into Monday, our storm will begin to race off to the Upper Midwest, which will lead to our next potential snowstorm for portions of the East.


Jackson is Head of Content and Social Media at WeatherOptics. He is currently a student at the University of Miami, studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism. Dill produces forecast articles for the website and helps to manage the content schedule. He has also led the growth of WeatherOptics’ social media accounts, working to keep them aligned with the company’s evolving vision.

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