After weeks of dry fall weather, the Sacramento region is finally expected to receive a little relief from the heavens beginning Tuesday night.
Up to a quarter-inch of rain is predicted throughout the Sacramento Valley along with a half-inch to an inch in Grass Valley, according to the National Weather Service. Mountain passes are expected to see 2 to 8 inches of snow, mostly in Wednesday morning’s early hours, and cold temperatures will help produce snow as low as 3,500 feet.
A system originating in the Gulf of Alaska will permeate the atmospheric ridge that’s been deflecting rainfall from the West Coast up to Canada, NWS meteorologist Eric Kurth said. It will be a brief aberration in an otherwise bone-dry month, though one NWS model shows a chance of rain on Dec. 26.
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The state Department of Water Resources’ eight-station index shows the northern Sierra has received 83 percent of its normal seasonal precipitation this year after being on pace for 140 percent at one point in November. With the wettest months still to come, Kurth said worrying about a possible drought equates to premature fretting.
“It’s pretty early on for people to get concerned, at least for Northern California,” Kurth said. “The real test is how things go in January. In terms of the snowpack and water up in the Sierra, there’s still a lot to come.”
High temperatures will stay in the upper 50s throughout the end of the week, with lows hovering just above freezing.
Cal Fire extended an outdoor burn ban issued Friday in Yuba, Sutter, Placer and Nevada counties through Monday, with further evaluation of conditions to come Tuesday morning.