Blizzard Warning Issued Ahead of California’s Next Storm

Blizzard Warning Issued Ahead of California’s Next Storm

Visitors walk as snow falls in the Grant Grove of giant sequoia trees during a storm in Kings Canyon National Park, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

2/28/2024

Updated: 3/1/2024

Weather forecasters have issued a rare blizzard warning for parts of eastern California and the Lake Tahoe region as another storm is expected to hit the state Feb. 29.
Residents were encouraged to abandon any plans to drive into the mountains over the weekend, as heavy snow and strong winds may create white-out conditions, the National Weather Service in Sacramento reported.
“We’re looking at dangerous mountain travel,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Sara Purdue told The Epoch Times. “It’s definitely safer to change your plans if you have any that take you into the mountains this weekend.”
The blizzard warning is only the seventh such warning issued for the state since 2014, according to Ms. Purdue.
“We try to save them for really extreme events,” she said.
Weather forecasters expect trees to topple and snow to accumulate as low as 1,000 feet, reaching the foothills during the weekend and making it difficult for local snowplow operations to reach some streets safely, according to the weather service.
Forecasters said up to 10 feet of snow could fall above 5,000 feet in elevation in much of the eastern region, and up to 4 feet above 3,000 feet in elevation from Friday through Saturday morning. Lighter snow may reach as low as 2,000 feet, according to the blizzard warning.
Roads into Lake Tahoe are expected to be hit hard, with Echo Summit on Highway 50 and Donner Summit on I-80 accumulating about 10 feet of snow during the storm.
The region could also be hit with high wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour.
A vehicle attempts to drive along a snow-covered street in downtown Grass Valley, Calif., during a snowstorm, on Feb. 28, 2023. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

A vehicle attempts to drive along a snow-covered street in downtown Grass Valley, Calif., during a snowstorm, on Feb. 28, 2023. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

Drivers should expect excessive travel delays and chain controls on highways and local roads, with road closures likely, the weather service reported.
Downed trees and tree branches could also cut power to residents in the area.
According to the weather service’s storm timeline for Northern California, moderate rain and snow should arrive north of Interstate 80 Thursday, with rain and snow expected Thursday night, accompanied by strong winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour. Winds gusts could reach over 60 miles per hour in the Sierra Nevada.
Elevations above 4,500 feet should be ready for snow, the weather service said.
Storm impacts are expected to be extreme Friday and Saturday, with moderate to heavy rain, and heavy to extremely heavy snow, along with strong winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour and more than 60 miles per hour over the Sierra Nevada. Snow levels will drop to 2,000 feet in elevation on those days.
On Sunday and Monday, the weather service expects storm impacts to decrease in Northern California, with moderate snow and rain Sunday. Lingering mountain snow showers could reach as low as 1,000 feet in elevation Sunday night, with temperatures in the valley areas dropping to the mid-30s, according to the weather service.
By Monday, the weather is expected to dry out, but temperatures will remain low, reaching the low- to mid-30s, with frost possible, the weather service reported.
Snowfall is visible on nearby mountains as a powerful storm impacts Southern California in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Snowfall is visible on nearby mountains as a powerful storm impacts Southern California in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Further south in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, light to moderate rain is forecast from Thursday through Sunday with minimal impacts expected, according to the National Weather Service’s Los Angeles-area office.
The region could get around 1 to 2 inches of rain during the storm, the weather service reported.
In the Southern California mountains, snow is forecasted above 7,000 feet, reaching up to 16 inches in some areas. Four to eight inches of snow is expected between 5,500 and 7,000 feet.
Wind gusts are also forecast for the Los Angeles area, reaching 50 miles per hour from Friday through Saturday.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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