Much of winter has been dry for California as much of the activity moves into the Northwest, although there have been a few storms as of late that brought much-needed rain and snow to the state. There was one storm that dumped around 100 inches to portions of the Sierra Nevada one to two weeks ago, which brought the snowfall compared to average up to 19%. We’re going to need more storms like that recent one to bring snowfall up to average, which is very important as the state slowly begins to entire the drier half of the year. Thankfully, we will have two effective producers of precipitation that move into the West Coast this week: one Tuesday night and a second on Saturday.
In regards to this first storm, precipitation will already be sneaking in before its “landfall” Tuesday night. On Monday, rain showers and possibly a few showers that contain small hail will move into the central and Northern California coasts during the afternoon and evening hours. During Monday night, those showers will expand into the Central Valley of California as well as coastal Oregon.
Then on Tuesday, the activity will continue to blossom and become more widespread. Rain showers are expected at times across Northern and central California and the lower elevations of Oregon and Washington. A few showers may also sneak into Southern California, but it’s not until Tuesday night where the showers will become a bit more present. With the weekend storm, however, a widespread moderate rain may move in. Now in terms of snow, snow will begin to break out on Tuesday in the Sierra Nevada and into portions of the Cascades. Snow levels at first will start at around 5000 feet, but will then drop to as low as 3500 feet Tuesday night. Speaking of Tuesday night, the snow levels will drop, allowing for a widespread snow in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades. Also a few snow showers are expected to mix in at the higher elevations in northern Nevada with rain showers in the valleys. Rain showers are also forecast across much of California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
On Wednesday, our storm system will be moving inland from the Pacific Ocean. This will allow for an enhancement in snowfall across the Cascades, Sierra, as well as in all the mountains ranges of Nevada, the Bitterroots, and into the highest of elevations of the mountains in Utah. In the lower elevations where it’s too mild for snow, there will be rain showers across much of the West Coast and into Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and northern Arizona. As our low pressure moves into the intermountain West Wednesday night, the activity will begin to wind down up and down the West Coast. The rain will come to an end while the snow gradually tapers off in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. Meanwhile across the interior, snow levels will drop and a widespread snow is forecast in the Rockies from the Canadian border southward through Colorado.
This storm will continue to bring snow for portions of the intermountain West on Thursday before the activity really comes to a half Thursday night. Meanwhile off the West Coast, our new storm will be entering the picture and will be slowly moving southward, parallel to the California coast, before moving inland on Saturday. Even though it will be offshore on Thursday, its impacts will begin that day, especially in Northern California and southwestern Oregon. Stay tuned for more details on this next storm as we get closer to the event.