Cool and dry weather continues today with near freezing minimum temperatures in the Central Valley today. A winter storm arrives tonight and Thursday followed by a second storm over the weekend. Cool and dry weather returns next week.

Discussion

It’s another cold morning across the region with current temps in the 30s across most of the Central Valley. Tuesday’s north winds brought drier air into the region and dew points are mostly in the mid 20s to lower 30s, so there’s room for readings to fall further before morning with areas of frost expected again.

Satellite imagery shows some high clouds beginning to move into NorCal, but these likely won’t be extensive enough to keep temperatures up. Little change with overall thinking on the upcoming change to a cold and unsettled pattern.

After a cool and mostly dry day today (some light precip will be possible across Shasta County in the afternoon), first storm moves in tonight and Thursday bringing rain, heavy mountain snow and gusty winds.

Looking like we’ll see a pretty good line of moderate to heavy precipitation with the front as it moves south late tonight and Thursday. Not expecting too much in the way of burn scar impacts given the cold nature of the storm and low snow levels, but HREF is indicating potential for some half inch/hr rain rates (around 50%) with the front as it moves through Butte County early Thursday (2 AM – 6 AM).

Several hours of gusty southerly winds will also precede the front, and gusts up to 40 mph may be possible across the northern half of the Sacramento Valley tonight and Thursday morning. Gusty winds will continue to spread south and east with the front on Thursday with gusts of 55-65 mph or higher possible along the crest of the northern Sierra.

Snow is expected to begin around midnight along Interstate 80 and continue through Thursday night. A period of very heavy snow is expected from early Thursday morning into the afternoon when snowfall rates of 2-3 inches/hr are expected, and combined with strong southwesterly winds, travel conditions will become treacherous. A Winter Storm Warning remains posted.

A break between storms is expected Friday before precipitation spreads back into NorCal Friday night and Saturday. Snow levels will be lower with this second weekend system (into the foothills), and there’s even a chance for some light accumulation down into the north end of the Sacramento Valley on Saturday morning where Redding could see an inch or so.

Snow will return to the northern Sierra Saturday morning and continue through the weekend. Snowfall rates aren’t expected to be as intense as the first system, but storm totals could end up being similar as light to moderate snow persists all the way into Sunday night making for difficult travel conditions for those heading to the Sierra for the weekend.

Extended Discussion (Sunday through Wednesday)

The second storm will be winding down on Sunday as showers gradually taper off from the north. Mountain travel impacts likely to continue into Sunday night.

Dry and cold weather then expected through the first half of next week with high temperatures around 5-10 degrees below average along with very cold overnight temperatures. In the mountains, single digits and teens are forecast in the mountain valleys with 20s elsewhere. In the Central Valley, several mornings of readings around the freezing mark are expected (AM Monday-AM Thursday).