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Wind played havoc with trees and power lines in the Sacramento area Wednesday, and snow and low visibility made travel treacherous over the Sierra Nevada, as the first in a series of winter storms moved through Northern California.
“Rain is forecast through Tuesday with no big breaks between rain,” said Johnnie Powell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District reported more than 20,000 customers were without power. Hardest hit was the Rio Linda area, where 16,447 customers were affected, followed by Fair Oaks and South Natomas, where power outages affected 1,752 and 1,658 customers, respectively.
Powell said wind gusts of up to 49 mph were reported at Sacramento International Airport.
The Fair Oaks area led the region in rainfall totals for the day, with 0.75 inches reported as of 5:30 p.m., while Roseville reported 0.71 inches, Powell said. Downtown Sacramento and Sacramento Executive Airport recorded 0.67 inches, and 0.48 inches was reported at Sacramento International Airport.
The snow level was at the 4,000-foot elevation, Powell said.
As of late afternoon, snow and low visibility affected traffic headed over the summit on Interstate 80, according to Twitter posts from the California Department of Transportation. A winter weather advisory for the Sierra was in effect until 4 a.m. Thursday. Moderate to occasionally heavy snow was expected through early Thursday morning before tapering off to showers, according to the National Weather Service.
In the Sacramento area, showers are forecast before 10 a.m., with thunderstorms possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The next system, with lighter rain, is expected to hit Friday, followed by another Sunday. The detailed, seven-day forecast from the weather service for the Sacramento region:
Wednesday night: Rain before 10 p.m., then showers after 10 p.m. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 45. Breezy, with a south-southeast wind 20 to 25 mph decreasing to 13 to 18 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New precipitation amounts between one-half and three-quarters of an inch possible.
Thursday: Showers likely before 10 a.m., then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4 p.m. Cloudy, with a high near 54. South wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Thursday night: Showers likely, mainly after 10 p.m. Cloudy, with a low around 47. Southeast wind 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and a half of an inch possible.
Friday: Showers. High near 52. Breezy with a south-southwest wind 17 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent.
Friday night: Showers likely, mainly before 10 p.m.. Cloudy, with a low around 44. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Saturday: A 40 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 53.
Saturday night: Showers. Cloudy, with a low around 40.
Sunday: Showers. Cloudy, with a high near 54. Breezy.
Sunday night: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 40.
Monday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
Monday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38.
Tuesday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 53.
Tuesday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 38.
Wednesday: Most sunny, with a high near 53.