Rain is expected to douse Northern California again Wednesday and Thursday as a cold system from the Gulf of Alaska moves southeast.
Showers are expected to begin Wednesday morning before the bulk of the rain hits that afternoon. The California Nevada River Forecast is predicting about 0.65 inches in downtown Sacramento throughout the two-day storm and up to 2 inches in Grass Valley and Chico.
The mountains will be more heavily affected than the valley, as was the case last weekend. Most ski resorts should see 6 inches to 12 inches of snow, with Donner and Echo Passes expected to get up to 18 inches and highest elevations on track for 2 to 3 feet.
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Snow levels are predicted to start at 4,000 feet to 6,000 feet on Wednesday before dropping to 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet Thursday, said Craig Shoemaker, National Weather Service meteorologist.
The weather service has issued a winter storm watch across the western Sierra Nevada from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning. Forecasters are anticipating serious visibility problems in light of moderate-to-heavy snowfall and winds of up to 60 mph, with chains mandatory in several areas and some high passes inaccessible.
“This is really going to be quite a bit stronger of a system than we had over the weekend, especially in terms of snow amounts over the Sierra,” Shoemaker said. “Snowfall rates greater than two inches per hour could cause lots of trouble, so we really discourage people from traveling after 3 or 4 (Wednesday) afternoon.”
No precipitation is expected in Sacramento the rest of the weekend and early next week, though Shoemaker noted showers near Redding could make their way south.