6 to 8 feet of snow forecast for California mountains

The latest weather model projections show significant amount of snow over the next 72 hours. This will certainly help California’s drought situation. However it’s going to completely cripple road travel over I80, Highway 50 299 32 and possibly Highway 70. The majority of snow is expected on Thursday night, and low snow levels down to 1000 feet are possible by Friday night.

H/T to Dr. Ryan Maue

In addition, gusty winds will give blizzard like conditions in the mountains, along with high winds in the Delta and foothills of the Sierra Nevada

In addition, significant amounts of rain will fall. Some low lying areas may see some flooding.

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89 thoughts on “6 to 8 feet of snow forecast for California mountains

  1. The rain started up around noon here in the mountains on the western edge of the Sac Valley. A nice rain, light to start with, then picked up a bit. It broke the cold of the last 3 weeks.

    • So will my #1 grandson. He is a snow plow operator in the area for CALTRANS and loves it! So much better than picking up trash along the freeway.

  2. Wow! Family members used to own a resort at Strawberry (Tuolumne County). Looks like they’re in line for about six feet. Wish I was there.

  3. Had booked a slope side condo for this weekend at Kirkwood. If I 80 is closed may just bar up in Reno with the adult kids. Welcome to the dreaded weather change.

      • That slope is about as steep as it gets because any steeper wouldn’t hold enough snow. Believe it or not I’ve skied down or across slopes like that off piste with a heavy ruck weapons and all on Alpine touring skies wearing leather Hag Wag 3/4 shank touring boots but of course not like those guys are doing it. Long shallow traverses done very gingerly and quietly trailing an avalanche cord is how it’s done when you have to. But more often than not you can’t do that and have to find another way because on those kinds of slopes with powder on top of old snow or stratified snow layers the avalanche danger is usually far too high. I’m sure some mountain troops are still doing that same thing today.

      • Later we didn’t have to use avalanche cords because we had the transponder/receiver units but when your fully tactical one has to be very careful of anything that emits a nondirectional signal of any frequency or power so old school still prevails at times.

  4. Excellent. Come spring melt-time, that should really help fill up the reservoirs behind the dams they built during the recent drought. Err… ummm… hang on a minute while I check up on that….

  5. Why do they say, “blizzard-like conditions”?
    It’s not “blizzard-like,” it’s a blizzard.
    Meteorologists should have the professional courage to use plain language.

    • Blizzard is a well defined meteorological term. If it falls just short of one of the required parameters, it’s blizzard-like. If it’s not technically a blizzard, they would be wrong to call it one.

      • Yup! Here is the definition of a “Blizzard” according to the American Meteorological Society Glossary of terms:
        “blizzard
        A severe weather condition characterized by high winds and reduced visibilities due to falling or blowing snow.
        The U.S. National Weather Service specifies sustained wind or frequent gusts of 16 m per second (30 kt or 35 mi per hour) or greater, accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than 400 m (0.25 mi) for 3 hours or longer. Earlier definitions also included a condition of low temperatures, on the order of -7°C (20°F) or lower, or -12°C (10°F) or lower (severe blizzard). The name originated in the United States but it is also used in other countries. In the Antarctic the name is given to violent autumnal winds off the ice cap. In southeastern France, the cold north wind with snow is termed blizzard (see also boulbie).
        Similar storms in Russian Asia are the buran and purga. In popular usage in the United States and in England, the term is often used for any heavy snowstorm accompanied by strong winds.”

      • So a blizzard is a snowstorm with a storm, and a snowstorm is just some heavy snowfall. What?
        English… I should not even try.

      • I prefer the term near blizzard for conditions that almost meet the definition of a blizzard.

      • It’s the same reason why all windy storms are not Hurricanes. They’re defined by level of severity.
        Definitions matter. Imprecision in communication causes mistakes.

    • That’s because blizzards are not allowed anymore, due to climate change. But you are allowed to have “blizzard-like conditions”.

    • If they want to make it sound as bad as possible, they could always say “sub-blizzard conditions”.

  6. Can some of you highly educated readers (perhaps Anthony, himself) answer my burning questions:
    1. When did we start measuring “drought” as a daily occurance? I always thought “drought”, by definition required a large block of time to become evident?
    https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/california
    2. And when did we start defining “droughts” as human-caused events ?
    https://www.livescience.com/21469-drought-definition.html
    I welcome this “late” … yet completely NORMAL storm to our decidedly NON-drought year here in CA. Dump-away. Deluge-away. Normally. Totally NORMALLY.

    • Kenji: I checked out your link https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/california
      Drought as measured in California is not a daily occurrence, with changes in coverage of California by 6 levels of drought (including “none” and D0 to D4) being reported weekly.
      The percentages of California’s area in some of each of 6 levels of drought (including none) changed somewhat over a week as of 2/20. The biggest change over the most recent week (as of 2/20) was “none” losing nearly 10 percent of California’s area, D0 gaining nearly 8% California’s area. D1 gained slightly over 2% of California’s area. The percentage of California at D2 held steady at 19.88%, and the percentages at D3 and D4 held steady at zero.

      • Drought, by all conventional definitions, is NEVER measured in weeks. What a JOKE. And never against some arbitrary standard of “normal”. The Drought Monitor is a political tool used to attack western civilization. It seeks only to foment fear and guilt and does so by ridiculous comparisons and measurements. Show me the maps in a week when this storm has unleashed a season-“normalizing” amount of H2O. And then CEASE measuring “droughts” by the week. Stupid bureaucrat leaches.

  7. Yeah, how intense does it have to be to say, “blizzard conditions”?
    Let’s now explore the subtleties of such phrases as:
    * rain-like conditions
    * hurricane-like winds
    * tornado-like winds
    * monsoon-like accumulations
    Like, whoa, dude, we’re using “like” too much, … for, like, no real reason.

    • A blizzard is defined as having three hours (or hourly readings) with wind averaging or having frequent gusts at least 35 MPH and visibility 1/4 mile or less due to falling and/or blowing snow. (I have heard 1,000 feet before.) If a snowstorm has such wind and low visibility that falls short of being sustained or nearly sustained for 3 hours, weather folks often say “blizzard conditions at times”. If the wind falls a little short of 35 MPH, weather folks often say “blizzard-like”.

      • How about using the term “near-blizzard conditions” to refer to a situation that is not quite, but almost harsh enough to be called a blizzard? You know, it’s like the term “near-freezing temperatures” when the temp is near but not at the freezing point.

    • I remember a teacher relating how he combatted student’s abuse of the word “like”.
      When a student once asked , “Can I borrow something, like a pencil?” The teacher handed him a chopstick. The student replied, “This isn’t a pencil!”, to which the teacher responded “It is like a pencil.”

    • Your link suggests you are in the middle of a forest at 2,900 feet elevation just NE of Weaverville, CA.

      • I am next to the Trinity River at around 1800 feet. Not far from Weaverville. The marker is just a general area marker. Nice country, changed a bit though over the years.

  8. Gaia has taken note of all the alarmist nonsense about sea level rise.
    To encourage Earth-folks to get their minds focused on serious matters (does the T-P go over or under), she has taken the step necessary to lower the sea level; namely snow in Canada, Greenland, Europe, Russia and a few other places.
    Check the sea level in 4 days.

  9. When I was team driving our preferred route across the US when departing from let’s say Philadelphia with the destination S. California during the winter months was I-40. Colorado unlike other states, requires chaining of all drive and trailer tires, while other states require chaining tires alternately. Thus we avoided I-70 in Colorado as much as possible because I-70 was the least preferred route over the rocky mountains during the winter. If our destination was the Salt Lake city area or points due west or North West of there we would use I-80 instead of I-70. Unless specific weather conditions dictated differently it was better to brave the winds and snow on I-80 in Wyoming and the Donner Pass than I-70 in the Colorado Rockies. Of course I-10 to I-20 to I-10 was fine when the destination was the LA area or anywhere south of there when it made sense. There were times when bound for destinations in OR or WA that we would have to take I-40 and cut up onto I-5 because I-80 and I-90 were likely going to cause delays due to weather but when the weather was good I-90 was a great drive once you got past Chicago.

  10. This cloud cover should provide an excuse for another quarter of underperformance at the pathetic solar thermal plants. That gets another executive pay day with bonuses.

  11. Meanwhile, here in the northeast US, we have a nor’easter headed our way, which will dump more rain on us than snow (more snow the further west, away from the center of the storm). That will be due to “global warming”, of course.

  12. Weather never bothered snowshow Thompson. Have skied amost all of the resorts and enjoyed every one from Big Bear to Squaw. Driven Highway 50 over the Sierra crest and Devils Gate Pass in a blizzard at night in a rental Camry with 2mm of front rubber and one headlamp pointing at the ground. Skiing in Kirkwood to 90 degrees next lunchtime in Death Vally. Climate change or what…. easy in America. What’s not to like?
    Its cold, snowing and damp in dontown London. We get no fires, floods and mudslides, because we don’t try to live where they happen. Boring but safer, and we don’t risk getting shot every time we go out. Just knifed if its SE London.

    • In the old days, we were never surprised at a knife attack in SE London. The perpetrators wore Millwall kit for fair warning. Come to think about it, they probably still do.

  13. California greens will be upset by this, although the the ‘snail darter’ or what ever analogue they have in California will be pleased.

  14. Would there be a perceptible seasonal pattern in sea level heights.
    During winter, lots of snow builds up on land, and during spring, lots of water evaporates from the seas and is deposited on the land as rain. This rain takes as much as several weeks returning to the seas.
    (Yes, I know that the southern hemisphere is out of phase with the north with regard to temperatures, however there is a lot more land in the northern hemisphere compared to the south. And this is especially true as you get closer to the respective poles.)

  15. Happy to see a mention of the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing this winter.
    This is just the start of it folks.

      • Oh. I see.
        Cointreau thinks “This is just the start …” of extreme weather expected to last as long as CO2 stores heat in the atmosphere – – – or something. I missed that.
        Of course, a warming atmosphere should do just the opposite as the gradients become less. This is what David Viner was think of when he argued snow was going to be found only in history books.
        My mother would say, “If you don’t tell the truth, you have to remember your lies.”

  16. In the past five days Squaw Valley USA ski resort received 90 inches of snowfall at the 8000 ft level.

    • … and in the past 24 hours, the “percent of normal” snow water equivalent for the Tahoe basin snowpack jumped from 25% to 42% of normal for the date.

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