Monday, December 21, 2015

North state dreaming of a wet, white Christmas

The last time I've been able to use the phrase "persistent parade of rain clouds" to describe a series of storms in our area was in the winter of 2010-2011, when we had a December much like this one. What we've seen lately, and what we expect to see for the remainder of the week, would certainly qualify.

The latest outlook from the National Weather Service:
An active pattern continues. A Strong storm Christmas Eve

Impacts
Slick roads from rain & snow
Chain controls, travel delays over the mountains
Low potential for debris flows on burn scars ( Burn scars graphic)

Timing and Strength
Brief break tonight, then wet pattern resumes Sunday
Heavy snow over Buckhorn Summit along highway 299 Sunday morning.
Heaviest Sunday afternoon and evening impacting travel over Sierra Passes
Snow levels briefly down to 3000 feet over the Sierra
Strong storm possible Christmas Eve into Christmas Day with low snow levels

Weather Summary
Snow will bring another round of travel issues for people traveling over the mountains with snow levels 2000-3000 feet, but rising through Tuesday. Check out this video for timing.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday another wave with some fluctuating snow levels as warm air moves over the area.

Burn Scars: Moderate amounts of rain will be possible through Tuesday. However, at this time amounts look below debris flow thresholds. However smaller creeks within scars could see rapid rises and some minor runoff within the scars.

Storm for Christmas Eve is looking impressive with widespread impacts possible into Christmas Day. We'll keep watching and update the situation as we get closer.
As we've reported today (via AP), the Sierras are being dumped on today with lots of new, fresh Christmas snow -- enough to bring a few Frostys to life. And as Mitch Lies reports for the Capital Press, at least one expert thinks this winter's El Nino will be so strong that the Pacific Northwest -- usually left dry by the phenomenon -- will get in on the abundance of precipitation.

We're keeping an eye on the storms as they develop. Check here and at CapitalPress.com for updates.

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