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This weekend in weather: Sierra to receive feet of snow, rain showers in the valley

Following several stormy days of flooding and power outages, the weekend is projected to bring in more wet weather, with heavy snow in the Sierra and rain showers in the valley.

A strong atmospheric river hit Northern California on Tuesday, bringing in fast-gusting winds and dumping snow over the mountains — some of which ended up accumulating near Redding.

The tropical system was expected to dissipate Thursday evening with another system on its heels. Here’s what that means for you.

Your weekend forecast

The National Weather Service expects Sacramento to receive more rain, even after breaking a record for daily rainfall Wednesday, and the mountains are in for another wallop.

NWS forecaster Cory Mueller said this will be the third weekend in a row of significant snow in the mountains, which means continued hazards for travelers.

The Sierra, parts of the North Coast and the Klamath Mountains above Redding were issued a winter storm warning Thursday, indicating heavy snow and hazardous conditions through Saturday afternoon, according to the NWS.

The NWS predicted 3 to 6 feet of snow in the area over the weekend, with even more possible at higher elevations. Mueller said Donner Pass and Carson Pass could expect 5 to 6.6 feet of snow, while Echo Pass could expect 3.3 to 5 feet of snow.

Mountain travel, the NWS said, is highly discouraged, with major travel delays and chain controls likely. Mueller said Friday may see some whiteout conditions over the Sierra, but snow might begin to ease up late Saturday with some snow showers Sunday.

Sacramento is expected to get less than a half inch of rain with possible thunderstorms Friday, less than a quarter inch Saturday and may see light showers Sunday. The storm is expected to break by Monday morning with clear weather predicted, according to the NWS.

Showers are likely throughout the valley over the weekend, Mueller said.

“Overall we’re not expecting anything major here for the valley,” Mueller said. “The heaviest rain is behind us now.”

Clear weather was expected into the week and no major systems were anticipated, Mueller said — though overnight temperatures may get close to freezing.

The atmospheric river’s warpath

Throughout Thursday, plentiful rains brought widespread flooding throughout Northern California.

Kiefer Boulevard north of Jackson Road near Sloughhouse was completely flooded and at least two drivers got stuck in the water, which was about waist-high at parts, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

The drivers required rescue by Metro Fire and the Folsom Fire Department.

In Butte County, the Rock Creek Levee was breached, resulting in massive flooding at Wilson Landing Road by the Hamilton Nord Cana Highway, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

An evacuation order was issued for the area, according to the sheriff’s office.

As rain continued to pelt the county, the sheriff’s office issued an evacuation warning to residents on River Road between Chico River Road and Highway 32 due to possible flooding from the Sacramento River.

Sandbags were being given out at a Chico Fire Station, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday evening, heavy snow and low visibility prompted Caltrans to close Interstate 80 from Colfax to the Nevada state line. It remained closed as of 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Meanwhile in Southern California, State Route 243 near Lake Fulmor in Riverside County was subject to major flooding and loss of structural integrity, according to Caltrans.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.
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