Huge amounts of precipitation expected in the Sierras

A weather system meteorologists are calling an “atmospheric river” is bringing massive amounts of rain and snow to California.

precipitation forecast
Seven-day precipitation forecast for the period beginning early Wednesday morning.

As a high pressure system over the west coast moves out of the way, massive amounts of precipitation are being funneled into California and Oregon. As orographic lifting squeezes the moisture out of the air mass some areas in the Sierras could receive up to two feet (24 inches!) of precipitation before this event is over. If most of it falls as snow in the mountains, the peaks in the Sierras could see up to 10 feet of snow.

It has already started, as you can see in the graphic below showing the snow received as of Wednesday morning. And the storm has just begun.

snow reports Sierras

It remains to be seen how this will affect California’s five-year drought and the 2017 fire season. In 2016 the northern part of the state saw some relief from the drought, but there was not much change farther south.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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5 thoughts on “Huge amounts of precipitation expected in the Sierras”

  1. Definitely a “Pacific Fire Hose” event.

    Here in Nevada at 5,000 ft. in the West Walker River drainage my all Wx rain/snow gauge has captured 0.80″ steady rain over the last 14 or so hours.

    No comparison to summer T-storm events and probably won’t topple any winter records. Never-the-less a good soaker here in a High Sierra “rain shadow”.

    Forecasted to become snow about midnight with minimal accumulations.

  2. im in auburn cal,not sure of the rain fall amounts so far,but my brother in law said last night he had gotten two inches on his weather/rain gauge in 12 hours yesterday.were at 1340′,im close to KAUN,and it sits at 1535′,but i havent looked at the web to see rainfall,we did get snow the other morning.the news says were due for a huge amount over the next week,odd though,the suns out now.

  3. 5-7″ rain on the Cedar Fire burn scar. Several creeks over their banks and some cabins damaged down stream. Erskine Fire has mud flows down in to Lake Isabella, Hwy 178 in the Canyon closed due to rock slides. Yep, typical CA. rain event over .20 is a flood.

  4. Unfortunately, the snow level is going to rise significantly, at least here in far Northern CA. From the NWS:
    “NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILL SEE A VERY WET PATTERN THIS WEEK AS A SERIES OF MOIST WEATHER SYSTEMS MOVES THROUGH THE REGION. SEVERAL INCHES OF RAIN ARE PREDICTED IN THE VALLEY WITH OVER 10 INCHES POSSIBLE OVER THE MOUNTAINS. SNOW LEVELS ARE ABOVE PASS LEVELS BUT WILL DROP AGAIN LATE MONDAY REMAINING AT MODERATE LEVELS THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK. FLOODING, INCLUDING BURN SCAR DEBRIS FLOWS WILL BE POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY SUNDAY AND MONDAY. ”
    Hopefully, Sunday won’t melt all the snow we got today and cause wide-spread flooding like New Year’s 1997.

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