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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Light rain coming to Southern California after winter storm brings snow to Sierra Nevada

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A winter storm hit the Sierra Nevada overnight and will continue pounding the region throughout Thursday, bringing heavy mountain snow, rainfall, strong winds and dangerous driving conditions as it moves toward Southern California.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued a winter storm warning through midnight Friday for western Plumas County and Lassen National Park and the western slope of the northern Sierra Nevada counties.

The snow report was not available early Thursday morning, said Katrina Hand, a meteorologist with the bureau.

Meteorologists forecast 10 to 30 inches for Shasta County and southern Cascades Mountains, and 1 to 3 feet in the Sierra Nevada. The heaviest snowfall is expected at higher peaks, Hand said. Gusty ridgetop winds are predicted to reach between 45 mph and 65 mph and peak Thursday morning, leading to dangerous and even whiteout conditions.

“We are asking people to reconsider their mountain travel plans,” Hand said.

The storm, which originated in western Canada and the Gulf of Alaska area, brought a hundredth of an inch to a half inch of rain to the Sacramento Valley in the last 24 hours, the weather service said. Up to 2 inches of rain is expected, Hand said.

The precipitation had not traveled far south of Sacramento early Thursday morning, Hand said. Radar on Thursday morning showed the storm was moving southeastward, Hand said.

Light drizzles fell in Southern California overnight Thursday, and a few isolated showers are expected throughout the day. Temperatures across the region will be 10 degrees below normal, said Andrew Rorke, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“The real rain will start after midnight [Friday] and through tomorrow morning as the main cold front moves down through Southern California,” Rorke said. Meteorologists predict about a quarter of an inch to a half inch of rain, weaker than previous days’ forecast, Rorke said.

Southern California could use a big storm “to drop a lot of water on us,” Rorke said.

“This is not going to be it,” Rorke added.

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