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California faces hurricane week, possible travel difficulties

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Drought-stricken California is facing a week of heavy mountain snow and widespread rain from a range of other types of storms that are not expected this fall and winter due to La Nina conditions. in the Pacific Ocean.

Consecutive rains moving into Northern California from Tuesday – the first day of winter – through Sunday afternoon will cover parts of the Sierra Nevada with 1 to 5 feet of snow (0.3-1.5 feet). meters) and possibly up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) at some higher elevations, the National Weather Service said.

The mountains, where ski resorts have struggled to stay open this fall, have become sparkling peaks after recent storms. Snowfall is important because the Sierra’s winter ice cover is often a significant source of water for California.

“We had a big storm recently. We just finished shoveling and all that so now we’re getting ready for the next one,” said Karla Brennan, owner of The Cork & More, a deli, cheese and Old wine in South Lake Tahoe said. “I think it’s going to be a white Christmas.”

Snow can sometimes fall in this area as early as Thanksgiving. It was welcomed this year when it finally arrived.

“Everybody is saying they’re having a record December,” Brennan said. “It was all sudden, it happened in the last two weeks. When the snow comes, the cars go up”.

In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the Pacific Ocean was showing signs of a new La Nina, the reverse of the El Niño ocean warming pattern, which tends to cause changes in weather around the world.

Forecasters say much of California will have a 33 percent to 50 percent chance of below-normal rainfall, while only the far north of the state is likely to get above or below normal rainfall. equivalent.

But the path of the storm tends to be farther south than usual during La Ninas. After a series of extreme weather in mid-December, California’s overall snow water equivalent — a measure of the amount of water in the ice sheet — rose from 19% of normal so far on December 10 to 76%. to normal on December 17, according to the latest US Seasonal Drought Outlook Report.

While the current wet trend is positive, it’s too early to tell if it will last through January and February. The snow cover usually doesn’t peak until April and last spring, the amount of runoff is very small because most of the water has been absorbed by the drought.

Forecasters note that this week’s storms will also potentially bring significant low-altitude snow, including on Interstate 5 north of Redding, the area north of where the storms are located. Last week’s storm shut down a vital highway for nearly 24 hours.

The weather agency said little snow is expected after Tuesday and major travel difficulties are expected in the mountains.

“High winds will reduce visibility during this event with local power outages possible,” forecasters said. “Holiday travelers should prepare for winter driving conditions by packing chains, warm winter clothing, and extra food and water.”

Wet weather patterns will begin to affect Southern California later this week.

The Los Angeles weather office said steam images over the Pacific Ocean show an atmospheric river developing as moisture flows out from an area east of Hawaii.

Atmospheric rivers draw water from the Pacific Ocean and dump it as snow and rain as they reach the West Coast.

Forecasters say high-altitude rain and snow is likely Wednesday through Thursday, followed by unsettled weather and showers that last through the weekend, forecasters said.

https://ktla.com/news/california/california-faces-holiday-week-of-storms-likely-travel-troubles/ California faces hurricane week, possible travel difficulties

JOE HERNANDEZ

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