Buckle Up! Incoming Storm Could Bring 100+ Inches of Snow to Northern California Mountains

Photo by Visit Mammoth

Winter is on its way to Northern California in the form of a massive storm that could bring more than 100 inches of snow to the mountains. The 4-day storm is expected to arrive on Saturday night and last through Tuesday.

In terms of early-winter storms, this one is a doozy. The National Weather Service forecast snow to fall all the way down to 2,500 feet, bringing nearly 9 feet of snow to the highest elevations. Mount Shasta could see 3 feet, while Tahoe and Mammoth could both receive up to 80 inches. The most snowfall accumulation is forecast for Lassen, which is forecast for more than 100 inches!

This storm will surely bring chain controls and road closures throughout the high-elevation regions of NorCal, most likely Highway 80 and U.S. 50 near Tahoe, along with Highway 89 near Lassen and Mt. Shasta. If you must travel during the storm, be sure to be prepared for whiteout conditions and bring chains.

In lower elevation areas, rain will fall early and often throughout the storm. Most NorCal cities are forecast to see anywhere between 2 and 5 inches between Saturday and Tuesday, with Grass Valley potentially receiving up to 7.5 inches! Flooding, downed trees and power outages typically occur in storms of this magnitude.

Meanwhile, the wind from this storm is going to be intense. 40 to 50 mph winds are expected throughout the valley when the storm peaks on Monday. There is also the possibility of winds approaching 120+ mph over the high-elevation ridgetops of the Sierra. This will surely cause issues with downed trees and power lines, along with furthering dangerous travel conditions.

You want even better news? This weather will be followed by yet another massive storm. Current 10-day forecasts show a 3-day break before the next storm enters the region on December 20, with A LOT more snow. We’re looking at a December to remember in NorCal with the potential for a white Christmas in many areas.

10-day forecast for South Lake Tahoe

This inclement (in a good way) weather comes on the 160-year anniversary of the Great Flood of 1862, which created a lake down the center of the state that was 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. It’s estimated that thousands of people were killed in Northern California during the event.

Let’s celebrate some much needed snow and rain by being safe this week. Enjoy the winter vibes!

Active NorCal

Northern California's Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine

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