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Heavy Snow Is Unloading On California

Snowfall forecast through the middle of this week.

Several fresh feet of snow will blanket the Sierra Nevada of California through the middle of this week! This is the result of a very slow-moving storm system along the western United States. Low pressure riding along the boundary of the Pacific Ocean and the western shorelines continues to sit and spin, pumping in a lot of moisture via strong wind. There will be breaks in the precipitation and wind at times, but more or less the active and unsettled weather will last through the early part of the week.

Forecast surface map with precipitation shown as rain in green/yellow and blue in snow. Valid Tuesday – Wednesday, March 16-17.

The precipitation is much needed in the region. As of mid-March (prior to this ongoing event), the Sierra Nevada mountains only had about 35-40 percent of its average snow depth. The melting snow is critical to the water supply throughout the year. This storm system will likely boost that number up closer to average by the time the week is over.

Snow depth comparison from March 13th to March 16th. From the National Weather Service Reno.

Snow depth as of Thursday, March 12, 2020 showing 35-40% to average for California.

If you’re traveling by air through this region, be aware it will be bumpy with occasional turbulence. Meanwhile, driving will be tough at times across Interstate 80 between Sacramento, CA and Reno, NV. Make sure you have proper snow tires and equipment to make it over some of these higher passes!

Winter weather alerts as of Tuesday morning, March 17.

Continue to stay with WeatherNation as we cover this story and our other top weather headlines this week!

About the author
Summer of 1993, New England Dragway. That's when and where Steve knew he wanted to become a meteorologist. More than 20 years later he is extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to live his childhood dream. As a lover of math and science, Steve had a consistent interest in weather in elementary, middle, and high school before discovering you can major in meteorology. He attended Lyndon State Co... Load Morellege in Vermont where he received a bachelor's in meteorology-broadcasting and associate's in television news. He has worked as a meteorologist and reporter in Winchester, VA, Burlington, VT, and most recently in West Palm Beach, FL. He's recognized by the American Meteorological Society with the Certification of Broadcast Meteorologists.