NATIONAL NEWS

The biggest snowstorm of the season to hit California this week

Dec 12, 2021, 5:06 PM
The biggest snowstorm of the season will hit California this week. (CNN Weather)...
The biggest snowstorm of the season will hit California this week. (CNN Weather)
(CNN Weather)

(CNN) — A drought-denting weather system will hit the West Coast, bringing the biggest snowfall of the season to California. Strong winds and welcome but heavy rain also will affect the West Coast through midweek.

The system is moving in from the Gulf of Alaska and will slowly push hazardous conditions southward from the Pacific Northwest Sunday to Southern California by Tuesday.

This will be “easily the biggest snowstorm this season,” forecasters at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Sacramento said in their discussion on Sunday morning.

It’s understandable as to why.

Snow totals of 3 to 5 feet are likely for the Sierra Nevada, with isolated areas receiving up to 8 feet. Some areas could see snowfall rates of more than 2 inches an hour.

Wind gusts approaching 60 mph will cause near whiteout conditions, making travel nearly impossible.

Avalanches are also possible, alongside downed trees and power outages. An avalanche was already triggered near a Seattle-area ski resort from this system Saturday.

Outside the Sierras, the Olympic, Cascade and Northern Rocky Mountains are forecast to receive 1 to 3 feet of snow, too.

Welcome rains

California continues to experience record low reservoir levels and exceptional drought conditions.

All of the state is in at least a moderate drought, with much of the central and southern sections in an extreme to exceptional drought.

This is exactly where a long-lived atmospheric river will set up, bringing with it an impressive surge of moisture.

This moisture will fall in the form of heavy mountain snow and soaking rains.

Coastal and valley regions of California, as well as the Pacific Northwest will see at least 1 to 3 inches of some much-needed rain.

Some areas near the foothills in California could see half a foot by Tuesday night.

After the second driest Water Year on record in 2021, running from October 1 to September 30, this is a welcome sight.

Rain and snowpack are important for replenishing California’s water reservoirs, which are low enough to force water emergencies and shut down hydropower plants in the state.

Unfortunately, the rainfall will come with a price.

As the Los Angeles National Weather Service Office said Sunday morning, the rain will “make a mess of rush hour traffic on Tuesday.”

Plus, too much precipitation too quickly on dry soils and burn scars raises the concern for flash flooding, as well as the potential for mudslides in the coming days in Central and Southern California.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Vis...
Associated Press

Authorities: 2 arrested in California shooting that killed 6

A California sheriff says two gang members suspected in the massacre of six people last month in central California have been arrested, one after a gunbattle.
13 hours ago
Davion Irvin was arrested late Thursday night and charged with six counts of animal cruelty-non-liv...
Chris Boyette and Vivian Kuo

Suspect arrested in case of tamarin monkeys missing from Dallas Zoo, police say

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Dallas and charged in connection with the suspected theft of a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys that were recovered unharmed this week in an abandoned home a day after they vanished from the Dallas Zoo, police said.
13 hours ago
A suspected Chinese high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Montana, on February 1. (Larry Maye...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky, Michael Conte and Nectar Gan, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday.
13 hours ago
This booking image provided by the Chicago Police Department, shows Eva Bratcher, who has been accu...
Associated Press

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

A Chicago woman is accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.
2 days ago
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves her office at the Longworth House Office Building on February 02...
Kevin Freking and Lisa Mascaro

House GOP votes to oust Democrat Omar from major committee

House Republicans have voted to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
2 days ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol on F...
Colleen Long and Chris Megerian, Associated Press

Biden urges unity at prayer breakfast under new management

President Joe Biden attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington and delivered a message of unity.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
The biggest snowstorm of the season to hit California this week