MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES — Finally, after a long dry November, winter weather is returning to our communities. As you may recall, our last significant storm was near the end of October. It included a flood watch and winter weather watch we reported here. Since then, we’ve had unseasonably high temperatures and no precipitation. According to the National Weather Service and other weather prediction services, that is about to change.
Midweek Moisture and Cold Front
Beginning Wednesday night and continuing through Thursday afternoon, forecasters are calling for between a half and one inch of rain in the foothills and up to 8 inches of snow in the higher elevations. Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park is expecting between six and eight inches of new snow and will likely be closed ahead of the storm. Yosemite officials have already decided to close Glacier Point Road on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ahead of the storm.
Of significance with this return of winter weather is the change in temperatures. The last couple of weeks we’ve been experiencing spring like temperatures during the day in the low 70s. This upcoming storm is predicted to bring us highs during the day only in the 40s and lows at night down to the 30s and maybe even below freezing. The National Weather Service forecast discussion even says a Freeze Watch may be issued for the San Joaquin Valley and Foothills for Friday night.
Much Ado about Nothing?
Only one inch of rain? Less than one foot of snow? These numbers probably don’t sound that exciting because we all know that we need so much more to pull us out of the drought we are currently experiencing , and if you’re like me, I worry about the upcoming fire season A LOT.
Looking at the big picture though is what has forecasters and experts feeling good about this upcoming change in the weather. That’s because this indicates a change in the pattern. So far this winter the pattern has left us with very little precipitation while our neighbors to the North have been experiencing a lot of rain and snow, even flooding! This is because the storm track has been too far North to do us any good, but this next storm has the potential to break that pattern and allow the jet stream to dip and bring us more precipitation producing weather. That leads us to a discussion about the end of this week and into next week and hopefully even beyond that into this winter.
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
Looking beyond this weeks midweek moisture, we can now talk about how the end of the week into next week is shaping up. Forecasters are confident that the end of the week will bring another storm system into our area and are expecting it to deliver more rain and snow. Predictions are showing we can expect chances of lower elevation rain and higher elevation snow on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It’s a little early for accurate precipitation amounts but like I said before, the pattern is changing.
Which brings us to those dreams of a white Christmas. Generally weather experts don’t like to talk about too far in the future when it comes to predicting the weather, but they do make generalizations. Right now the discussion among those circles is that with the pattern being changed the door will be opened for more storms through the end of December.
So, for those of you dreaming of a white Christmas, DON’T LOSE HOPE!
By now you might be wondering “What should I do to get ready for the return of winter?” First, and foremost, don’t panic! Especially because the first storm in the middle of the week looks to be pretty mild. But, I believe this is the perfect chance to prepare for the upcoming winter season. Now would be a great time to put together an emergency kit for your vehicle, clean out your gutters, and check your supplies in case there is a power outage. Do you have enough food and water to last for everyone in your family for a few days, including your pets, if you can’t get out of your house and to services? For more tips you can check out ready.gov.
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