California is under a warning with a storm to dump up to 20 inches of snow in some communities, turning what is now a driving rainstorm into a snowfall that could shut down roadways and trap residents in their homes.
For several days, large portions of California have faced heavy rains and strong winds, and forecasters believe the weather will shift within the next several hours to turn that rain into snow. The California blizzard is expected to hit in communities in the northern part of the state, particularly areas above 6,000 feet elevation.
The California blizzard warning is in place now, with the storm expected to start late on Wednesday evening and continue through Friday afternoon, bringing whiteout conditions and possibly forcing roads to close.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, the conditions could be quite harsh.
“Ten to 20 inches of snow could accumulate in communities above 6,000 feet. The northern Sierra crest could get 2 to 3 feet of snow, with the heaviest snowfall Thursday night. The strongest winds are expected Wednesday night and Thursday. Forecasters say the area will have 20 to 25 mph winds with gusts of 80 mph of higher. Snow levels are expected to drop to 4,500 to 5,500 feet on Thursday night and Friday morning.”
The National Weather Service has been tracking the California blizzard for days, posting updates on its Facebook page and calling it the strongest storm to hit the state in years.
The service explained that the storm is a danger to other parts of the state as well, with strong winds and the potential for flooding.
“The much-advertised storm system is now right on our doorsteps,” the National Weather Service wrote. “This storm still looks like it could be the strongest storm we’ve seen in several years. Our biggest concerns continue to be the potential for widespread power outages and flooding, along with whiteout conditions over the Sierra Cascades. Precipitation begins along the far Northern Valley this afternoon, and will spread southward tonight through Thursday.”
The National Weather Service is posting updates on the California blizzard warning, including any possible closing in the areas affected.
[Image via CNN]