Widespread rain, heavy mountain snow and periods of gusty winds later today through Friday. Drier and milder conditions return this weekend.
Cold front is approaching the northwest coast early this morning. Later this morning the front should be starting to move over the northern areas. The front will be slow to move southward so it may not be until this evening before the Sacramento area starts to see some precipitation per current models.
Winds will be increasing this morning over the north end of the valley first then increase late morning and afternoon for areas further south. Gusty winds should persist into early Thursday before decreasing. The strongest winds are expected this afternoon and evening. Gust potential still looks to be in the 35 to 50 mph range over a good portion of the valley with the strongest winds expected over the north end of the Sacramento valley. Ridge tops in the Sierra should easily top 50 mph later today and tonight.
The trough will deepen over the region on Thursday and portions of the Sacramento valley and adjacent mountains north of the Sacramento region may start to see some isolated thunderstorm activity in the morning.
During the afternoon is when the greatest threat over the entire region for thunderstorms will occur. Profiles still look like they would produce heavy rain and small hail. Nice wind shear to the profiles as well over most of the Sacramento valley (best central and north) so it could be an interesting day with some funnel clouds or a weak tornado.
By Friday morning the central part of the trough moves over Nevada with the back end of the trough still over the region. Showers are expected to continue but should gradually taper during the day ending in the evening.
Best chances look to be over the eastern side of the valley and adjacent foothills and mountains. This system continues to look like a very good late season precipitation event for the region with at least 1 to 2 feet of snow over the higher elevations, a half inch to an inch and a half of rain in the valley and 1 to 3 plus inches for the foothills and mountains.
Thunderstorms may end up producing locally higher amounts.
Saturday a ridge of high pressure will be building over the region and will warm temperatures back to near seasonal normals with mid 70s expected for the valley and mainly 50s in the mountains.
Extended Discussion (Sunday through Wednesday)
Ridge of high pressure will be over the region on Sunday with warmer temperatures and dry conditions. Temperatures will warm into the mid 70s to lower 80s in the valley to the upper 50s to upper 60s for the mountain valleys.
These conditions will persist through Monday but the ridge will begin to flatten out as a trough begins to move into the Pacific Northwest.
By Tuesday a weak dry trough will be over California with some slight cooling each day for Tuesday and Wednesday. The far northern part of the state including the north end of the valley may have a chance to see a little bit of precipitation from the tail end of that trough but at this point it will most likely remain dry and breezy for both days.