Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prices for cookout foods remain steady


From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
If you’re planning a cookout for the Independence Day weekend, you should find prices for key ingredients to be about the same as last year. That’s the finding of an informal survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The survey checked prices for hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon and other cookout foods, and found supplies for a barbecue for 10 people can be bought for about $56—up slightly from a year ago.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Benghazi report: Read it for yourself

Pay absolutely zero attention to the narratives of media organizations that have a vested interest in changing the subject and diverting the conversation after having taken part, along with government officials, in a four-year cover-up of activities in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in which four Americans were killed. Here is a summary of today's majority report from the Select Committee on Benghazi, courtesy of north state congressional field representative Erin Ryan.
Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after the committee’s Majority released a mark of its investigative report:

“Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.

“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.

“Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”

The committee’s proposed report is just over 800 pages long and is comprised of five primary sections and 12 appendices. It details relevant events in 2011 and 2012.

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:
*Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]

*With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]

*The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]

*A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]

*None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]

*The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]
Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“We expect our government to make every effort to save the lives of Americans who serve in harm’s way. That did not happen in Benghazi. Politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans, and while the administration had made excuses and blamed the challenges posed by time and distance, the truth is that they did not try.”

Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Our committee’s insistence on additional information about the military’s response to the Benghazi attacks was met with strong opposition from the Defense Department, and now we know why. Instead of attempting to hide deficiencies in our posture and performance, it’s my hope our report will help ensure we fix what went wrong so that a tragedy like this never happens again.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part II:
*Five of the 10 action items from the 7:30 PM White House meeting referenced the video, but no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time the meeting took place. The State Department senior officials at the meeting had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a “Terrorism Event Notification.” The State Department Watch Center had also notified Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills that it had set up a direct telephone line to Tripoli. There was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks. [pg. 28]

*The morning after the attacks, the National Security Council’s Deputy Spokesperson sent an email to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community, stating: “Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning. … Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.” [pg. 39]

*Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the Rose Garden, Jake Sullivan wrote in an email to Ben Rhodes and others: “There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’” [pg. 44]

*According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]

*On the Sunday shows, Susan Rice stated the FBI had “already begun looking at all sorts of evidence” and “FBI has a lead in this investigation.” But on Monday, the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs sent an email stating: “McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference] group today that everyone was required to ‘shut their pieholes’ about the Benghazi attack in light of the FBI investigation, due to start tomorrow.” [pg. 135]

*After Susan Rice’s Sunday show appearances, Jake Sullivan assured the Secretary of the State that Rice “wasn’t asked about whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved.” [pg. 128]

*Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.” The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.” [pg. 132]

*The CIA’s September 13, 2012, intelligence assessment was rife with errors. On the first page, there is a single mention of “the early stages of the protest” buried in one of the bullet points. The article cited to support the mention of a protest in this instance was actually from September 4. In other words, the analysts used an article from a full week before the attacks to support the premise that a protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. [pg. 47]

*A headline on the following page of the CIA’s September 13 intelligence assessment stated “Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,” but nothing in the actual text box supports that title. As it turns out, the title of the text box was supposed to be “Extremists Capitalized on Cairo Protests.” That small but vital difference—from Cairo to Benghazi—had major implications in how people in the administration were able to message the attacks. [pg. 52]
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III:
*During deliberations within the State Department about whether and how to intervene in Libya in March 2011, Jake Sullivan listed the first goal as “avoid[ing] a failed state, particularly one in which al-Qaeda and other extremists might take safe haven.” [pg. 9]

*The administration’s policy of no boots on the ground shaped the type of military assistance provided to State Department personnel in Libya. The Executive Secretariats for both the Defense Department and State Department exchanged communications outlining the diplomatic capacity in which the Defense Department SST security team members would serve, which included wearing civilian clothes so as not to offend the Libyans. [pg. 60]

*When the State Department’s presence in Benghazi was extended in December 2012, senior officials from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security were excluded from the discussion. [pg. 74]

*In February 2012, the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at Embassy Tripoli informed his counterpart in Benghazi that more DS agents would not be provided by decision makers, because “substantive reporting” was not Benghazi’s purpose. [pg. 77]

*Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate. [pg. 96]

*In August 2012—roughly a month before the Benghazi attacks—security on the ground worsened significantly. Ambassador Stevens initially planned to travel to Benghazi in early August, but cancelled the trip “primarily for Ramadan/security reasons.” [pg. 99]

*Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred with respect to Benghazi. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged multiple times an intelligence failure did in fact occur prior to the Benghazi attacks. [pg. 129]
Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“One of the most concerning parts of the State Department’s policy in Libya was its reliance upon the militias of an unstable nation to protect our men and women in Benghazi. These were by no means forces that could adequately protect Americans on the ground, and the State Department knew it. But the appearance of no boots on the ground was more important to the administration.”

Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee’s requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses regarding Benghazi and Libya, and details what the Obama administration provided to Congress, what it is still withholding, and how its serial delays hindered the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth.

Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community and Congress aimed at strengthening security for American personnel serving abroad and doing everything possible to ensure something like Benghazi never happens again, and if it does, that we are better prepared to respond, the majority make a series of recommendations.

The Select Committee intends to convene a bipartisan markup to discuss and vote on the proposed report on July 8, 2016. All members of the committee will have the opportunity to offer changes in a manner consistent with the rules of the House.
Links to the full report are here.

High production, low prices fuel walnut exports

Higher production and lower prices have driven greater exports of walnuts grown in the northern Sacramento Valley and elsewhere in the U.S., according to a report from Rabobank.

From a news release:
California walnut growers have seen a significant surge in production over the last couple of years. This spike in production, coupled with the recent decline in prices, has heavily influenced the export market for walnuts. California walnut growers have harvested over 450 thousand in-shell equivalent tons since 2010/11 – and are expected to harvest over 620 thousand in-shell equivalent tons in 2016/17. The average production for the last ten years is nearly 65% higher than that of the previous ten years. This ongoing growth, supply and demand trend is examined in Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory note titled “California Walnuts – Confronting Growing Production.”

According to the note’s author, Vernon Crowder, the price of walnuts has been steadily dropping in recent years. “Market prices for California walnuts began to see a gradual decline beginning in September 2014, and a more severe drop late last season – in June 2015,” said Crowder. “In recent months. Combos – a mix of varieties and light and dark meats – and darker meats hit a price floor, and have since strengthened somewhat.” Recent inclement weather patterns were detrimental to the walnut crop in Chile, a top producer of quality walnuts.

The report concludes by highlighting the recent increase in walnut plantings, both in the U.S. and abroad. “During the last ten years, U.S. walnut acreage has increased by 100,000 total acres – current estimates suggest that non-bearing acreage is approximately 65,000 acres,” said Crowder. “Even if older, lower yielding orchards are removed in California, its harvest is projected to be more than 700 thousand in-shell equivalent tons by 2020.” The note concludes by pointing out the recent investments in marketing. Even with exports of U.S. walnuts continuing to increase, marketers are still making a valiant effort to increase domestic consumption of walnuts as well.

This report is the third of a series of research notes that Rabobank has planned to highlight the major tree nuts grown in the U.S.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Shasta College ag program receives award

Shasta College's agriculture and natural resources program has been named the best postsecondary ag program in California by an educational organization. From SC instructor Trena Kimler-Richards:
The California Agriculture Teachers’ Association (CATA) selected the Shasta College Agriculture and Natural Resources program as the Outstanding Ag Program in the Post-Secondary Division for California.

The award was presented on June 22nd at the annual California Agriculture Teachers’ Association conference at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. The CATA rankers based community college agriculture programs performance on colleges’ levels of instruction, experiential learning, student organizations, partnerships, and faculty professional growth.

Trena Kimler-Richards, Agricultural Instructor, gave credit to the faculty of the Shasta College Agriculture & Natural Resources program and administrative support. The program has strong support from industry partners and the community which strengthens the learning opportunities for the students.

The Shasta College AG/NR program provides experiential learning in a variety of disciplines from Agri Sciences, Forestry, Heavy Equipment Operations to Horticulture/Plant Science. The 100 + acre Farm Laboratory supports the hands on lab experience and a farm internship program for students.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Group calls on Congress, president to reform immigration

From Western Growers:
Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif in response to the Supreme Court ruling on the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs:

“We believe our nation’s immigration policies should be determined by the legislative branch of our federal government. We also recognize that Congress has abdicated its duty to reform our broken immigration system, which is why we understand the motivation of the Obama Administration. However, neither DAPA, DACA, nor any other Executive Order will adequately address the long-term immigration challenges facing our country.

In light of this ruling, we urge the Administration and all members of Congress to reflect on their responsibilities to the American public and renew the immigration reform debate in earnest. Congress should bring forth a comprehensive immigration reform plan that considers agriculture’s unique needs. Any reform measure should include provisions granting legal status to existing farmworkers and one that creates a new, more workable and market-oriented visa program to ensure a future flow of labor."

LaMalfa applauds Supreme Court's immigration ruling

From the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa:
Rep. LaMalfa (R-CA) released the following statement on the Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Texas, which upheld a Texas federal district court’s decision barring the President from using executive action to implement the Deferred Action for Parent of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.

“Today, we saw our rule of law upheld at the highest level. The Supreme Court’s one-sentence opinion, handed down earlier this morning, rightfully blocks the President’s unilateral immigration action, which would have given de facto amnesty to almost 5 million people who are present in our nation illegally. The Constitution makes it clear – Congress writes the law, and the President has a duty to carry those out. This ruling today exemplified once again the importance of having separation of powers and checks and balances within our political system.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Federal court strikes down BLM rule

Issued last night by the Congressional Western Caucus:
Today in Wyoming, US District Court Judge John Skavdahl struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s final rule on hydraulic fracturing. Judge Skavdahl agreed with western states, tribes, and industry that the BLM lacked the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large) issued the following statement in response:

“Today is a victory not only for state management and responsible stewardship of our natural resources, but also for states’ rights,” said Chairman Lummis. “This rule undermined the careful and efficient regulation of fracturing that states have put in place, like the rules written by Wyoming. I am glad to see Judge Skavdahl rule in favor of the State of Wyoming and others and will continue my own work to rein in overreaching federal agencies.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Western Growers dismayed by court's compost ruling

A farm group is dismayed that a federal court ruled that it's no longer necessarily OK to use composted municipal green waste on organic farms in California. From Western Growers:
Western Growers is disappointed with yesterday’s federal court decision that struck down a five-year-old federal Guidance document allowing the use of composted municipal green waste on organic farms in California. Monday’s court decision in Center for Environmental Health v. Vilsack vacated the National Organic Program’s (NOP) Guidance 5016: The Allowance of Green Waste in Organic Production Systems.

The Guidance already prohibited use of compost that was shown to contaminate soil, crops or water, but plaintiffs argued that this was not strict enough under the pre-2011 organic rules. While the court stopped short of agreeing with plaintiffs, the court found that USDA did not gather sufficient comment on the 2011 legal guidance and ordered them back to the drawing board. USDA now has 60 days to issue new Guidance and get comment before the August 22 deadline.

Western Growers provided input to the court as an amicus to show that the sudden withdrawal of the Guidance would harm organic agriculture, composting operations and consumers in California.

“We asked the court to simply allow USDA to fix any procedural problem to the Guidance without doing away with these important rules that codify well-established organic practices,” said Western Growers Vice President of Federal Government Affairs, Dennis Nuxoll. “Now, starting in August, California organic farmers – who have followed USDA’s lead in good faith – won’t know the rules of the road,’ Nuxoll continued.

Western Grower is concerned that certified organic farmers will no longer enjoy the protections of NOP Guidance 5016 if their organic compost contains incidental residues of prohibited substances that they did not cause and be opened up to potential lawsuits. Furthermore, we recognize that no analytical testing currently exists to confirm the absence of all disallowed chemical substances, and the cost of trying to conduct such testing would be prohibitive and could render organic production economically unfeasible.

We believe the organic industry will be harmed by this type of legal and economic uncertainty and will explore all available remedies to insulate organic farmers from this short-sighted and potentially market-devastating ruling.
The Capital Press is following up on this ruling and will have a story up on our website soon.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Assemblywoman refuses to take no for an answer

Remember the ag overtime bill that supposedly died in the Assembly for lack of support? Well' it's back.

From the California Cattlemen's Association's latest legislative bulletin:
Earlier this week, the author of the ag overtime bill, defeated just a few weeks ago, has amended a bill in the Senate to bring the ag overtime issue back this legislative session. AB 2757, authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), was defeated with a vote of 38-34 earlier in the month after not securing the necessary 41 votes to pass the Assembly. Assemblymember Gonzalez gut-and-amended AB 1066, currently located in the Senate Education Committee, with the same provisions contained in AB 2757. Although Assemblymember Gonzalez bypassed the recent house of origin deadline that helped secure the defeat of AB 2757, AB 1066 will still need to come back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. This vote will require 41 members to approve the amendments taken in the Senate and sets up another contentious debate on the Assembly floor later this year.

Although CCA expected the author to attempt something again on this issue, it is surprising that Assemblymember Gonzalez is taking the bill up again so soon. The bill is expected to likely pass the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee prior to the Summer Recess, however floor action taken by both the Senate and Assembly probably won't happen until the end of this legislative session. Both houses will conclude their business upon the adjournment of session on Aug. 31.

A large coalition of agricultural and businesses groups, including CCA, are preparing a strategy to continue to maintain a strong opposition to the bill. It is anticipated to be a very close fight.
Apparently Gonzalez took a bill that previously dealt with compensation for teachers -- a totally unrelated subject -- and replaced it with her ag overtime proposal. I am following up. Check back at CapitalPress.com for the story.

Friday, June 17, 2016

4-H, FFA members shine at Shasta District Fair

For 4-H and FFA members throughout Shasta County, up to a year of work and preparation is culminating in this week's Shasta District Fair in Anderson.

In the photos, from the top: 4-H'er Madeline Evans, 12, of Redding shows one of her dairy goats; Happy Valley 4-H members (from left) Matthew Bybee, Bethany Chambers, Maddie Coburn and Cody Williams stand behind the swine barn; and FFA member Dustin McNeely of Anderson stands next to the garden cart he made in shop class and entered in the fair's metal shop contest, winning best of show.

Madeline has a junior champion dairy goat at the fair and her rabbit won best of show. But what's really interesting is she's been using milk from her dairy goats to make soap, and earned more than $1,000 from sales of the soap to put into her projects. Watch for my feature on her at CapitalPress.com soon. I'll have stories on the other youngsters in an education section set to run in a few weeks.

A special thank-you goes to Nadine Bailey of Family Water Alliance, who helps out with Happy Valley 4-H and has been at the fair this week. The fair's livestock coordinator usually lets me know of one or two interesting stories at the fair each year, but she abruptly left her post about a week before this year's fair. I know Nadine from her work on the logging conference and as a former legislative field rep, and she lined up many of the students and parents I talked to today.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Poll: Orlando was about terrorism, not guns

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham makes the point that the Old Guard media's push for gun control in the wake of shootings never works because people just tune them out. In fact, their constant pushing for gun control only reinforces the notion they have an agenda. “It actually, I think, makes their liberal bias a little more intense," he said on the Fox Business Network. "It's the frustration that all of their advocacy just doesn't seem to break through.”

A new poll seems to bear that out. From Rasmussen Reports:
Most voters say the massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub this past weekend is more about terrorism than gun control, but most also agree that someone on a terrorist watch list should not be able to purchase a gun.
A similar poll in December, after the San Bernardino attack, found a similar result.

Meanwhile, here's a primer on the AR-15.

LaMalfa, others urge no cuts in Shasta Lake releases

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa is among 15 California lawmakers urging federal agencies not to cut releases from Shasta Lake to leave water for winter-run salmon because it would mean further cuts in water supplies for farmers.

From LaMalfa:
Congressman Doug LaMalfa and 14 other members of the California delegation in the House today urged the Obama administration to reject proposals from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which would drastically cut Californians’ access to water stored in Lake Shasta. The proposals would negatively impact Californians around the state, including in the Sacramento Valley.

“Despite our first wet winter in years, misguided federal agencies threaten to cut off the water supplies of millions of Californians. Federal agencies are simultaneously demanding that more water be released from Lake Shasta, but not for human use, and that more water be kept in Lake Shasta, but not for human use,” LaMalfa said. “Neither demand is backed by science, and the only common theme is that both give Californians the short end of the stick.”

Despite having concurred with the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) 2016 Shasta Reservoir operations plan, NMFS proposes cutting releases from Shasta by 20% to retain water for environmental use later in the year. At the same time, FWS proposes drastically increasing Shasta releases in order to aid the Delta smelt, with a potential cost to taxpayers in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

If these proposals are implemented, barely one-quarter of the 4.1 million acre feet of water stored in Lake Shasta, California’s largest reservoir, would be available to Californians, and crops which have already been planted would die for lack of water. Much of the remaining water stored in the reservoir would be released in efforts to aid Delta smelt or used to provide habitat for winter-run chinook salmon later this year.
Video of LaMalfa's comments on the House floor can be found here. The letter is here. The California Farm Bureau Federation has more information on the issue here.

We'll be checking with resource agencies to find out their plans. Check CapitalPress.com soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Winter to make brief encore in NorCal

Rain and mountain snow are coming to the north state tomorrow and spending the night, according to the National Weather Service. The rundown:
Impacts
· Late season snow to impact travel and outdoor recreation (Lassen Park area)
· Isolated thunderstorms with small hail (N. Sacramento Valley...N. Sierra)

Forecast Confidence
· Medium

Timing and Strength
· Isolated T-Storms Wednesday and Thursday
· Snow above 5000-6000 ft. early Thursday rising to 7000-8500 ft Thursday evening (see graphic)
· Breezy ridge-top winds through Friday

Weather Summary
A unseasonable cold weather system will move through Norcal Early Thursday bringing showers, thunderstorms, and late season snow. The most widespread rainfall is expected mainly Thursday morning with snow levels around 5000-6000 ft. Afternoon thunderstorms may contain small hail and lightning and are expected to be concentrated over the northern Sierra and possibly the northern Sacramento Valley.