California is poised for a merry snowy rainy Christmas week, say National Weather Service offices throughout the state.
Rain is expected in Fresno on Tuesday night and could bring up to 2 inches through Sunday, according to the NWS Hanford forecast.
Check Conditions Ahead of Mountain Travel
In addition, a Winter Storm Watch for the Sierra will be posted early Wednesday morning and continue until late Sunday afternoon.
“Mountain travel will likely be significantly impacted,” the NWS said.
Mountain travelers should carry chains and check the Caltrans travel information webpage for weather, road conditions, and potential road closures.
A series of storm systems will bring more rain and mountain snow to central California this week into early next week. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the Sierra Nevada from late Tuesday night through Sunday. Continue to monitor the latest forecast. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/vAkmhoGXfL
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) December 19, 2021
Heavy Snow at Higher Elevations
The successive waves of precipitation are expected to coat the Southern Sierra with 1 to 5 feet of snow.
However, there could be more than 8 feet of snow at the higher elevations of the Northern Sierra. NWS Sacramento says that Donner Pass, for example, could receive 80 to 100 inches of snow Tuesday through Saturday.
NWS Los Angeles attributes the storm to an atmospheric river over the Pacific Oceans developing as moisture streams from an area east of Hawaii.
The storm hit the Pacific Northwest over the weekend, dropping rain and snow. Portland recorded its first measurable snowfall of the season with 0.2 of an inch on Sunday morning.
NWS Hanford says there is a 30% chance of rain Tuesday, followed by 70% Wednesday and 90% Thursday. As much as 1 inch could fall Wednesday and into Thursday morning. Another .75 of an inch is expected Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning.
There is a 60% chance of rain on Christmas Day with a high temperature of 51. Southeast winds are expected at 10 mph and could gust to 15 mph.
You can check the latest snowpack totals at this link.
Water levels for major California reservoirs are at this link.
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) December 21, 2021
(Associated Press contributed to this article.)