Finally, Northern California has itself a weekend of winterlike weather.
Up to a foot of snow is expected to fall by Saturday evening in the higher mountains around Lake Tahoe, along with about a half-inch of rain in the Sacramento Valley since Friday, National Weather Service officials forecast.
“This is an OK storm for November,” said Johnnie Powell, weather service meteorologist.
A second, larger storm is expected to hit Tuesday and drop another foot of snow in the mountains, and as much as an inch of rain in Sacramento, Powell said.
Neither storm will make much of a dent in the drought, or even bring the Sacramento rainfall totals up to where they normally are for this time of year. As of Saturday afternoon, downtown Sacramento had registered 2.01 inches of rain since July 1, only about 53 percent of normal.
The wet weather was enough to prompt chain controls for a while Saturday morning over the summits on Interstate 80 and Highway 50. It also caused a small rock and mud slide to spill onto I-80 Saturday morning near Colfax, the state Department of Transportation reported. No freeway lanes were closed, and crews were able to cart the debris away quickly.
Caltrans officials said they have ramped up maintenance and road-clearing crews for the upcoming days.
“Everybody is in place,” Caltrans’ Deanna Shoopman said. “They’ll cruise the highways, checking for debris, trees, animals.”
Mountain rain prompted national weather officials to issue a slide and debris-flow warning for Tuesday and Wednesday in El Dorado County areas, where this summer’s King fire has denuded some slopes.
A handful of ski resorts now have at least a few runs open, including Boreal Mountain, on I-80 near Donner Summit, where snow was falling most of the day on Saturday.
“This is shaping up to be our largest snowstorm so far,” Boreal spokeswoman Tess Hobbs said Saturday. “This is a our first real powder day.”
Sporadic showers will continue in the Sacramento region Sunday and Monday. Rain should be heavier Tuesday and Wednesday, then ease off toward the end of the week. Another storm front appears poised to hit next Saturday or next Sunday.
Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.