A rare mid-May storm slammed Northern California on Wednesday, bringing with it some winter conditions during a time of year that typically is known for it’s mild temperatures and sunshine. As of Thursday night, the storm has brought significant snow to the mountains and multiple inches of rain in just 24 hours to certain lower elevation NorCal communities.
The big story of the storm was the heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, which gave the few ski resorts still open some rare-May powder and forced CalTrans officials to enforce chain controls along Interstate 80 near Donner Summit and Highway 50 near Twin Bridges.
US50 – Carry your chains if you’re traveling up to the Tahoe area today ! pic.twitter.com/vJwGfW4qC5— Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) May 16, 2019
For a short while, the roads were pretty treacherous near Donner Summit:
The chain controls only lasted a few hours on Thursday morning, but more restrictions could be seen through Friday. For those who were able to navigate the snowy conditions in the Sierra, they were able to see some fresh snow on the two Tahoe ski resorts still open on the season:
2 inches of fresh snow last night and that’s just the beginning. Heavenly could see up to 6-8 inches through the weekend. May pow days anyone? See you all at the Gondola tomorrow.— SkiHeavenly (@skiheavenly) May 16, 2019
📸 5.16.19 #skiheavenly #skicalifornia #skinevada #finishstrong #tahoetanlines pic.twitter.com/GSF1Gvig0g
It’s estimated that up to 8 inches of snow fell around the Tahoe mountains, with more on the way Thursday night and Friday morning:
For the lower elevation areas, the story was rain, rain and more rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Much of NorCal saw significant rain over the 24 hour span, with some areas seeing well over 3 inches. Whiskeytown Lake saw the most rain with 3.88 inches in just 24 hours:
This storm is just adding to the already stellar snowpack and water storage in NorCal, with the major reservoirs hovering around 90 to 95 percent water levels. The best part of all of this? There’s no end in sight to this weather. In fact, the mountains could see significant snowfall between Sunday and Monday of next week, wit Lassen forecast to receive up to 30 inches!
What a wild week! Expect travel delays in the mountains and rainy driving conditions all throughout Northern California.
Buckle up, NorCal. It’s a May storm Madness!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine