A Winter Storm Watch has already been issued for the southern Sierra Nevada from Yosemite National Park to Kings Canyon from 4 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 to 4 a.m. Friday, Dec. 11.
According to the National Weather Service in Hanford, a cold front moving in from the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to meet up with some tropical moisture and the resulting storm has the potential to produce significant precipitation. Calling the weather unsettled, Hanford gives a medium confidence value to these predictions at this time.
Snow levels are currently said to begin around the 7,000 feet elevation on Thursday, dropping down to near 4,000 feet by Friday morning. Snow over the Sierra Nevada is expected to accumulate to over a foot in the Yosemite area. Winds will become breezy to windy Thursday and Friday, especially along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Flooding and debris flows will be a concern in recent burn areas, including the Rough, Rim, and Willow scars.
The Winter Storm Watch includes a warning for heavy snow and blowing snow, with anticipated accumulations of 12 to 24 inches above 7,000 feet and 6 to 12 inches of snow above 5,000 feet. Accumulations of one to three inches are possible for elevations at 4,000 feet. Snow fall is expected to be heavy on Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, with slick and snow covered roads and winter driving conditions. Use chains, expect travel delays and anticipate the possibility of road closures. The forecast is calling for winds southwest at 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 70 miles per hour along the Sierra crest.
Thursday night’s temps in Oakhurst are predicted to be around 32 degrees, with a high of about 54 degrees on Friday.
Weather stations say we’ll have a couple of fairly dry days before the chance of precipitation zooms back up to 70 percent on Sunday, when showers are expected in Oakhurst as a weaker system moves through the Sierra. We’ll keep you posted on the potential impact of that storm as it develops.
Now, where did you put those rain boots?