Dry and breezy today, Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday evening through Saturday morning

February 27, 2018 – The region will see dry weather today into Wednesday as Monday’s storm moves south into SoCal. Another series of cold winter storms will begin to affect the region later Wednesday continuing into the weekend. Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday evening through Saturday morning.

Discussion

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Satellite imagery shows yesterday’s storm moving southward into SoCal. A few wrap-around clouds and light showers continue across the far southern portion of the forecast area while skies have cleared out north of Sacramento. Northerly surface pressure gradients have tightened overnight (MFR-SAC is around 12 mbs) resulting in gusty winds across the western half of the Sacramento Valley and locally in the foothills.

Current temperatures are colder compared to 24 hours ago and range from the teens in the mountain valleys to the 30s and lower 40s in the Central Valley. Temperatures along the eastern edge of the Central Valley are around freezing while enough wind is keeping readings milder to the west.

After a break today, the next winter storm will begin to spread precipitation into the region late Wednesday. The period of heaviest precipitation and gusty south winds are expected on Thursday. This upcoming storm could be one of the more substantial snow storms in recent years, as we’ll see a combination of both low snow levels and good moisture tap (in recent years, it’s been 1 or the other). Portions of the northern interior mountains will likely see a prolonged period of heavy snowfall and gusty winds reducing visibility to near zero. Snowfall accumulations for many areas will be measured in feet! Winter storm watches have been posted for all the foothill and mountain areas of interior NorCal above 2K feet.

The Redding area may see snow accumulation Thursday night and Friday as the strong southerly winds up the valley taper potentially allowing some colder air to filter into the northern Sacramento Valley. GEFS plumes are indicating an average of around 5 inches of snow for the Redding Airport, but it’s a little too early to make the call. Stay tuned!

Extended discussion (Saturday through Tuesday)

Upper trough keeps a threat of showers over the forecast area Saturday with snow levels in the foothills. Models diverge beyond this time frame but forecast attm leans more towards GFS-20 which keeps a threat of snow showers over the mountains Sunday. Drier northerly flow then setups up over the CWA early next week as upper ridging moves towards the West Coast.