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Weather update: Dime-sized hail possible as strong burst of showers sweeps across region

Hail falls in Land Park in February

After lightning falls in the Sacramento region a light hail storm sweeps by Land Park on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.
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After lightning falls in the Sacramento region a light hail storm sweeps by Land Park on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

Thunderstorms and light hail are possible Wednesday in the Sacramento Valley as a midweek storm continues, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

The storm brought 0.14 inches of rain to downtown Sacramento on Tuesday night, and is expected to drop 1 to 3 inches in the valley and 2 to 5 inches in the foothills between through Thursday, NWS said.

Early Wednesday morning commute hours saw wet roads and wind gusts around 30 mph, according to NWS. Traffic was slow going in Sacramento, with California Highway Patrol logs showing numerous minor accidents and spinouts, as well as a jackknifed big rig that has blocked two lanes of eastbound Highway 50 near Stockton Boulevard.

After a brief peek of sunshine before noon, skies opened up again across the capital region with the heaviest rain seen on radar sweeping across Elk Grove parallel to Interstate 5 and Highway 99.

NWS issued a special weather statement through 2:45 p.m. warning of dime-sized hail across Sacramento County, along with thunder, lightning and “winds in excess of 30 mph.”

Flood watch continues

Saturated grounds from last week’s storm prompted NWS to put a flood watch in place throughout much of Northern California until noon Thursday, with high creek flows and localized roadway flooding seen as possible outcomes.

Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded an emergency declaration to 26 counties after last week’s atmospheric river system.

This week’s NWS flood watch for Northern California advises those who live in flood-prone areas to be prepared.

Rain showers are expected to continue through Saturday, with Sunday currently forecast as the next dry day in Sacramento. High temperatures will remain in the 50s this week.

It might hail in the valley

Gusts of up to 35 mph will continue in the valley through Wednesday night before dying down overnight, wind forecasts show.

Winds may be strong enough to bring down tree branches and affect power lines, NWS warned.

Small amounts of hail are also possible, as well as thunderstorms, throughout most of Northern California.

‘Yup ... yet another storm’ in the mountains

NWS Reno said in a tweet about 7:20 a.m. that the storm’s heaviest round of snow would likely fall through noon Wednesday, with showers continuing into the afternoon.

Snow levels will be between 6,000 and 7,000 feet Wednesday, and are expected to fall between 5,000 and 5,500 feet Thursday.

Chain controls are in place on Interstate 80 in the Sierra from Kingvale to the Donner Lake interchange as of Wednesday morning, Caltrans said.

As the NWS Reno office tweeted Tuesday evening: “Yup ... yet another storm system will affect the region over the next couple days.”

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows joined other Lake Tahoe ski resorts in extending its ski season. Squaw will be open until July 7. Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood will be open into April

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.

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