Weather News

Another foot of Sierra snow, and more rain records at risk in Sacramento on wet Tuesday

Rain is winding down in Sacramento, with perhaps just one last chance to break another May record.

The latest National Weather Service forecast expects less than half an inch to fall, absent a thunderstorm, on a cool and breezy Tuesday in Sacramento.

The capital will see a high of about 64 degrees and wind gusts up to 23 mph Tuesday afternoon.

Off-and-on showers should continue into Tuesday evening, before forecasts show a dry and warmer stretch Wednesday through the weekend, with temperatures expected to reach the mid- to high 70s once again.

Thunderstorms remain possible throughout the Sacramento Valley on Tuesday.

Last call for the wettest May ever?

After Sunday’s downpour exceeded downtown Sacramento’s daily record and pushed the total to an all-time May record of 3.28 inches, NWS Sacramento’s other main observation point entered Tuesday just 0.07 inches shy of the monthly record.

Revised precipitation measurements now say Sacramento Executive Airport has received 3.06 inches of May rain after a dry Monday. The wettest May on record was 1948, when 3.13 inches fell.

The record seems destined to fall Tuesday, the only rain on schedule in the current seven-day forecast.

NWS said Monday that between a quarter-inch and half-inch would fall between that night and the end of Tuesday. Scattered overnight and early-morning showers had already dropped more than 0.07 inches in much of the Sacramento region by 7 a.m., county rain monitors show, including Rancho Cordova, Orangevale and Folsom.

Latest visible satellite loop for West Coast

Sierra travel ‘very difficult’ amid snow

Snow will continue to blanket the Sierra range Tuesday, easing up by the evening, before a possibility of light mountain rain and snow will continue Wednesday through Friday.

NWS issued a winter weather advisory Tuesday morning, in place through 8 p.m., warning that travel will be “very difficult.” Updated snow forecasts now show as much as 1 foot falling in the Sierra-Cascade region by the end of Tuesday, with up to 18 inches possible at higher peaks. Snow levels are expected to fall to 5,500 feet.

According to California Highway Patrol and Caltrans, chain controls were in place Tuesday morning at a number of stretches of Interstate 80, Highway 50, Highway 20 and other mountain roads. Chains will likely be required most of the day over the Donner Summit, officials say.

After Friday, the mountains could see another weekend of mountain snow with a chance of thunderstorms, though that system is expected to be weaker than Tuesday’s, according to NWS. Snow levels could drop to 7,000 feet by Sunday.

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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.