Cold storm system moves into California, bringing more rain, snow

 Wednesday, March 29, 2023 


Storms continue to surge into California and are expected to bring moderate to heavy rain and snow across the northern region of the state, the National Weather Service said.

The severe weather is forecasted to last from Wednesday to Friday and especially affect higher elevation areas, where high levels of precipitation could lead to runoff and excessive flooding in rivers, causing rapid flooding.

Total snowfall near the Sierra Nevada mountain range could range from one to three feet. High winds are expected in parts of California, Nevada, southern Oregon, and northwestern Arizona.

High temperatures will continue to be below average for much of the West Tuesday-Wednesday, with highs in the 30s and 40s for the Northern Rockies/Great Basin and the 50s for most of California, an agency said.

Some of those highs could meet or break the record for the maximum temperature on those dates.

California has been deluged by storms this winter, hit by 12 atmospheric rivers that have led to evacuation orders, rising rivers and broken levees. In some parts of the Sierra Nevada, more than 55 feet of snow have fallen.

Upper Northern California felt the first effects Tuesday, with more than 14,000 people in Del Norte, Siskiyou and Shasta counties losing power for several hours.

Winter storm warnings and advisories covered nearly all of the region, with officials warning of potential wind gusts of 45 mph and heavy snow above 2,500 feet, including up to 24 inches in portions of Trinity County.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph were possible in the Bay Area and along the Central Coast, with 1 to 2 inches of rain and low-elevation snow. Up to 7 inches of snow could fall near the peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Farther inland, the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada were bracing for widespread rain and heavy mountain snow.

Strong winds Tuesday afternoon brought down trees and power lines throughout Placer County, officials said, and about 2,200 people were without power.

The Sierra could receive up to 4 feet of fresh powder, while the Coastal Range and Shasta County mountains could see up to 3 feet, said Chelsea Peters, a meteorologist with the weather service in Sacramento.

A winter weather advisory will be in effect from early Wednesday morning through Thursday for the Santa Barbara and Ventura County mountains and into the Interstate 5 corridor of the L.A. County mountains.

A winter storm watch has been added to the San Gabriel Mountains.

The storm will also deliver snow, including up to 8 inches at elevations above 5,000 feet.

The Santa Barbara and Ventura County mountains could get up to 14 inches, with 18 inches possible in the L.A. County mountains.

The heavy precipitation has helped California’s drought, but has not been enough to reverse decades of water shortages.

On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a presidential major disaster declaration to provide aid for communities hit by the storms.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect in parts of Porterville, Allensworth and other areas of Tulare County along the Tule River.

Officials have expressed concern about severe flooding as the deep Sierra snow melts in the weeks and months ahead.

Conditions are expected to clear briefly after the storm, but another could hit the state sometime between Sunday night and Tuesday, forecasters said.

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