The National Weather Service is warning of dangerous traveling conditions in the Sierra Nevada this weekend, as a flurry of snow is expected to hit the region Saturday afternoon.
Harsh snowfall and wind are predicted to come down on the mountains as early as 4 p.m. and last through the night, with snow levels climbing upward of 10 feet at the highest peaks, said Mike Kochasic, a forecaster for the National Weather Service.
Strong 30 mph winds are also expected to cause near white-out conditions in some areas, making it difficult for drivers to see and causing delays on roadways.
“Just slow down and take your time,” Kochasic said. “The main message we are trying to get out is if you don’t have to go over the mountains, don’t.”
He advised families who must travel through the area to come prepared with snow chains, an emergency kit and a cellphone charger.
The same weather system hitting the Sierra Nevada is expected to bring more than a quarter of an inch of rain to Sacramento on Saturday, with showers beginning about noon and lasting through the night.
Kochasic said Sacramento will see a break in the weather until a smaller system brings less than a tenth of an inch of rain beginning Sunday afternoon and lasting through early Monday.
The rest of the week is expected to bring cooler, breezy weather, he said.
Here’s the weather service’s seven-day forecast for Sacramento:
Saturday: Showers. High near 53. South southeast wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Saturday night: Showers, mainly before 10 p.m. Low around 44. South wind 10 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Sunday: A 30 percent chance of showers before 10 a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 57. West wind around 8 mph becoming north northwest in the morning.
Sunday night: A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 45. Light and variable wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers before 10 a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 56. Southeast wind 5 to 8 mph.
Monday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 39.
Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 58.
Tuesday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 37.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56.
Wednesday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 40.
Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58.
Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 40.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 60.