Weather

Second major storm rolls in with rain for Sacramento, snow for Sierra

With a face of determination as he plows through a puddle, Colin Kirchner, 6, takes advantage of a break in the rain Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, while out with his dad on his battery-operated tractor at Sacramento’s McKinley Park.
With a face of determination as he plows through a puddle, Colin Kirchner, 6, takes advantage of a break in the rain Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, while out with his dad on his battery-operated tractor at Sacramento’s McKinley Park. lsterling@sacbee.com

The second major storm of the wet season lumbered through Northern California on Sunday, dumping rain in Sacramento and leaving a thick coat of white powder on the Sierra Nevada – with scattered showers and possible thunderstorms forecast for Monday.

Downtown Sacramento recorded 0.27 inches of rain as of late Sunday, and snow levels dropped to a mere 3,500 feet elevation in the mountains, with up to 14 inches of snowfall projected through Monday evening. All told, the capital city is bearing the brunt of the latest system and will receive up to half an inch of rain.

The Monday morning commute wasn’t expected to fare worse than normal, with only a 50 percent chance of precipitation then. Most of the rain will hit after noon and into the early evening hours of Monday, said Tom Dang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

“There’s been such a dearth of weather systems the last four years that this feels kind of unusual,” he said. “But this kind of weather is actually normal for this time of year.”

High temperatures in Sacramento are expected to dip into the upper 50s, which is about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year, according to the weather service.

At Boreal Mountain Resort in Soda Springs near Truckee, hundreds showed up for skiing and snowboarding Sunday after the resort opened two days earlier, using snow from the last system and artificial snow blowers. Most other resorts planned to open for the season later in the month.

Boreal spokesman Tucker Norred described the snow as “coming down in great big flakes.”

“We have nice fluffy snow. It’s not even the wet stuff,” he said, adding that the resort’s entire mountain opened Friday.

Still, the storm is expected to bring little relief to the ongoing drought. At 56 percent of normal precipitation, Sacramento is already in a deficit for the water year that began Oct. 1, Dang said.

“We certainly need a whole lot more,” he said. “(The storm) will probably catch us up to near normal, but that’s not going to break us out of a drought obviously.”

Dang added, “Everything helps, but it’s not really a game-changer.”

The rain Sunday morning sent many Sacramentans seeking shelter, emptying the area’s parks but largely failing to snarl traffic like the first Nov. 2 storm system did on a Monday morning.

“Aside from a few fishermen, who are dedicated to their craft, there was barely anyone” at the American River Parkway, said Chris Hagel, a Sacramento Parks and Recreation employee who operates one of the parking booths there.

The Fair Oaks man was sent home early from his usual Sunday shift due to the rain.

The precipitation also put a damper on the Sacramento Antique Faire, which sets up under the Interstate 80 overhang at 21st and X streets once a month. Many of the regular attendees and vendors ended up staying home.

Still, a steady flow of customers wandered between shops until the rain picked up from a drizzle to a steady downpour in the mid-morning, said antiques vendor Don Zelder. Business continued to drop in the afternoon until vendors closed at 3 p.m.

Jack Dooley said the showers boosted his sales because he stuck around and didn’t pack up his bags like other vendors did.

“This was my second-best day of sales all year,” Dooley said. “When there are less vendors, there are more opportunities for customers to see what I have to offer and buy from me. These people are junkies – they come here to buy antiques no matter the weather.”

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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