Liquid Gold for the Western United States
Let’s first talk snow: h2>
The big winner out of this storm will be the The Sierra Nevadas in California. Snowfall totals here could be up to two feet along the highest peaks. Winter driving conditions will exists along the mountain passes.
In Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho; the higher elevations could pick up 12″-18″ by the middle of the week.
Now on to the rain: h2>
This part of the country will take any rain and snow it can get. More than 73% of the West is experiencing some level of drought. The latest round of snow could be coming to areas that need it most. The past year has brought one to two foot rainfall deficits to the Sierras. The Cascades of the Pacific Northwest are seeing similar set backs.
The effects of a historic four year drought keep compounding. Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture reported record low snowpack in nine states. In California, snowpack dropped as low as six percent of normal. Ski resorts were forced to close early last season from Washington to Utah. Reservoir levels continue to suffer due to lack of melting. Any accumulation this week will be like money in the bank, saving up for what could be a dry winter in northern California. The Climate Prediction Center has a good chance of above average precipitation in the Southwest, but the Northwest is more likely to be below normal.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Mike Witcher