While Northern California and Nevada deal with record-breaking snow, a break in the rain is approaching for Fresno and other Valley cities.
Fresno had received nearly a quarter-inch of rain on Wednesday through 9 a.m., bringing December’s total to 3.65 inches and the seasonal total to 5.22 inches.
The seasonal accumulation is nearly half of what Fresno receives in a so-called “normal” year.
According to the National Weather Service in Hanford, snow in the mountains and rain in the lower elevations will end by Thursday morning.
The NWS forecast calls for a dry and sunny New Year’s weekend with lows slightly above freezing.
But another weathermaker is expected to hit Northern California on Monday and move into the Valley on Tuesday.
More snow is coming for the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains. Below are the probabilities for seeing at least 6″ snow or more and 12″ of snow or more from Wednesday into Thursday. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect. #cawx pic.twitter.com/7ksF32gJAu
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) December 29, 2021
Another Huge Day of Snow at Donner Pass
The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab says another 8 inches of snow fell at its site near Donner Pass. The new snow added to the record-breaking total for December at the location.
“We are now at 258% of our avg snowpack through this date and we have received 70% of our avg annual snowfall.” the lab tweeted.
8″ (~20cm) of #snow over the last 24 hours at our 8am measurement. That brings our December total to 210″ (~533cm) and our season total to 264″ (~671cm).
— UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab (@UCB_CSSL) December 29, 2021
But Andrew Schwartz, the lead scientist and station manager of the snow laboratory, told CNN that California still needs more precipitation to offset the effects of the drought.
“While this event has been amazing so far, we are really concerned about the upcoming months not having as many storms,” Schwartz said. “If we don’t get another inch, we’re still below what we would expect for the entire winter, which means that we can contribute to the drought rather than resolving it.”
Have we mentioned it's been a little snowy in the mountains recently? All visitors traveling to Grant Grove must carry tire chains or cables in their vehicles – and make sure you know how to use them! pic.twitter.com/Rj7VBIc9XW
— Sequoia & Kings Cyn (@SequoiaKingsNPS) December 29, 2021
Emergency Declaration in Nevada
On Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak plans to declare a state of emergency due to snow and storm conditions affecting travel in the Lake Tahoe area.
“This will help prevent motorists from becoming stranded overnight on the roadways, potentially running out of gas in subfreezing temperatures without access to emergency services,” a statement from Sisolak’s office said.
In Northern California, part of the main highway from San Francisco to Reno remained closed Tuesday for a third straight day. Snow-choked Interstate 80 shut down Sunday from the Nevada state line to Placer County, although Caltrans said that U.S. 50 reopened late Monday for vehicles with chains or four-wheel drive.
Meanwhile, across western Washington and Oregon, emergency spaces for people were opened as forecasters said the extreme cold from an arctic blast that blew in Sunday could last until the weekend.
To check travel conditions in California, use this link.
Snowpack, Reservoir Reports
You can check the latest California snow water equivalent levels at this link.
Water levels for major California reservoirs are at this link.
(Associated Press contributed to this article.)