MOUNTAIN AREA — The National Weather Service has upgraded the winter storm watch to a winter storm warning for the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon, beginning Friday, Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. The winter storm watch continues through 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24.
According to the NWS, snow will begin above 6,000 feet in the Yosemite area Friday morning, spreading south Friday afternoon. Snowfall is expected to be heavy at times, with the possibility of the snow level lowering to below 4,000 feet. These conditions will continue through Saturday.
One to two feet of snow is likely to accumulate above 6,000 feet, say forecasters, with eight to 16 inches above 4,000 feet, and up to several inches at the 4,000 foot level. Winds are predicted to be southwest at 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.
Heavy snow will make many roads impassable, NWS cautions, and may produce widespread power outages due to the weight of the snow on tree limbs and power lines. Strong winds will lead to blowing snow, they say, along with reduced visibility and the possibility of additional power outages.
A winter storm warning for heavy snow means that severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring, explains the National Weather Service. Significant snow is forecast that will make travel dangerous and travel is recommended only in the event of an emergency. NWS reminds people to carry a flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case you get stuck.
**UPDATE 6 p.m. Dec. 22: this story was revised to reflect new date from NWS showing winter storm warning goes into effect at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23.