Northern CA Forecast Discussion

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Sacramento CA
231 PM PST Fri Dec 13 2019

Light valley rain and moderate mountain snow through Saturday night, Mountain travel delays are likely. Drier weather Sunday and early next week.


... A relatively warm and moist system will continue passing through northern California into Saturday. Main precipitation band will move through late this afternoon/early evening. Snow levels are fairly high currently above 6500 feet, but will gradually lower to near 4000 feet by Saturday night. Valley rainfall amounts will be light generally under 0.25 inches, except 0.50-1.00 inches northern Sacramento Valley(Redding area), a bit more impressive amounts over the mountains and foothills from 1-2 inches of liquid. Snow amounts of 10 to 15 inches, locally 2 feet will be possible above 6500 feet, especially near pass level. A brief break in the showers will be possible Saturday afternoon, a second colder, but drier system will drop through Saturday night. Not much moisture with this system and conditions will remain dry for the Valley, 2 to 4 inches of additional snow will be possible above 4000 feet. Dry weather returns Sunday into early next week, as high pressure ridging builds over NorCal.


(Tuesday THROUGH Friday)... The brief dry trend from the weekend will continue into early next week. On Tuesday, the transitory ridge to likely shift over toward the Central Great Basin ahead of a compact upper low nearing the California coast. Given the complex of nature of this system separating from the westerlies and eventually closing off, uncertainty still plagues the forecast. While the GFS/ECMWF ensembles agree on the existence of this system, they continue to exhibit spatio-temporal differences. The former model suite remains the wetter solution with widespread precipitation entering the picture by mid-week. On the contrary, The ECMWF ensemble system takes a more southern track favoring impacts down in southern California. There is enough ensemble spread to keep either scenario in play so will continue maintaining precipitation in the forecast. Expect increasing cloud cover given the influx of Pacific moisture with near average temperatures for mid-December. Looking toward the following weekend, there are still fairly strong signals of wet weather in response to a full-latitude trough approaching the Pacific coast. While some of the 24-hour probabilities for 0.50 and 1.00 inches of precipitation have come down a bit, this will continue to be watched. The Climate Prediction Center experimental Day 8-14 hazards supports this notion with Dec 20-22 being highlighted for heavy precipitation which includes snow in the mountains. ~BRO

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