Another week, same ol’ story.
After historic precipitation in Northern California in February, we were given a little reprieve with sunny skies at the beginning of March. That sunshine will leave the skies again and make way for a familiar sight – more snow in the mountain and flooding concerns in the valley.
Up to 60 inches of snow is forecast for mountain areas through Thursday, with the potential for 5 inches of rain in the valley. Not only will ravel become difficult in the mountain areas, flooding is a significant concern along rivers in NorCal, specifically the Sacramento River.
The snow is expected to hit Lassen Volcanic National Park the hardest (per usual) with 60 inches, while the lower Sierra Nevada near Tahoe is expected to see up to 3 feet in the coming days. This storm will see snow as low as 3,000 feet on Thursday. Chain control and closures are expected on major highways in the Sierra Nevada, specifically Interstate 80 over Donner Summit.
A Flood Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service throughout the valley, with soaked grounds and high water flows a cause for concern as some communities saw significant flooding just last week.
The Sacramento River is expected to reach flood stage at Tehama Bridge, Vina Woodson Bridge and Ord Ferry. Flooding is also forecast at Clear Lake and the Yolo Bypass.
Flooding has caused major issues along the Russian River and Sacramento River in recent weeks, with Guerneville along the Russian River seeing floods of up to 14 feet and forcing evacuations in the small river town.
The winter of 2019 has been nothing short of spectacular following years of drought in NorCal. The Department of Water Resources declared that snowpack sits at 153 percent of average, a number that doubled in just a month’s span during February. Ski resorts like Squaw Valley and Mammoth both saw record months of snowfall on their respective mountains.
Travel is discouraged is affected areas during the storm. Please check flooding and chain control updates before driving through NorCal.