Two winter storms are headed for California this week. The storms could produce as much as 18″ of snow in the Sierra.
The NOAA has shared the video below showing the timing of the two storms to hit CA next week.
“Dry conditions and above average temperatures are expected today and through the weekend as high pressure builds into northeast California and western Nevada. More active weather is expected next week, especially by late week, as the stronger of two systems moves through the region. Bottom Line: If you have travel plans pay attention to the forecast for next week.” – NOAA Reno, NV
NOAA Weather Report For Norther CA:
The medium range guidance has trended a bit faster with the arrival of this storm, which will be driven by a powerful Pacific jet stream. Winds could increase as soon as Wednesday night/early Thursday with a period of strong south winds in far western NV, followed by a broader areas of potentially strong winds on Thursday ahead of the cold front. While it is too soon to determine whether downslope enhancement will occur, the pressure/thermal gradient and mid-upper level wind profiles on their own could support 45+ mph gusts in lower elevations, with 100+ mph Sierra ridge gusts.
As for precipitation, the bulk of the moisture appears more likely to occur during the daytime and evening hours on Thursday. The faster timing of the cold front passage could push snow levels down to some western NV valleys by the Thursday evening commute, with temperatures dropping below freezing at all elevations Thursday night. Snowfall potential remains a wild card, depending on the amount of moisture drawn in by this storm, and whether the heaviest precip falls in the warm or cold sector. Early snowfall projections of a foot or more in the Sierra above 7000 feet, with several inches down to 5500 feet, seem reasonable. Lighter snow amounts capable of producing travel impacts are possible Thursday evening and overnight in the western Nevada foothills and even down to some valley floors.
Next Friday looks to be chilly with brisk west to northwest winds and isolated-scattered light snow showers. Medium range guidance hints as a possible secondary shortwave passage across northeast CA, which could produce some localized heavier snow shower bands Friday afternoon/early evening. The cold air mass over the warmer lake water could also support enhanced snow shower bands downwind of larger lakes.
Beyond Friday, medium range guidance/ensembles diverge with the storm track/timing, but it appears that an overall unsettled pattern with fast moving weather systems could continue further into late January. Temperatures are unlikely to return to the warm values expected through Monday.