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Next Wave of Pacific Moisture Brings Snow back for the Sierras

24 Apr 2021, 3:00 pm

The end of April is ushering in a larger pattern change that will bring cooler air, rain and snow chances back into the Pacific Northwest and California for the weekend. Moisture coming off the Pacific Ocean, in combination with cold air from Canada, will bring our next weather maker for the western United States.


Winter alerts are in place for the Sierra Mountains Saturday night through Monday morning. For higher peaks, over a foot of snow will be possible and some spots may get up to 2 feet of snow.. Expect difficult travel through mountain passes on Sunday and Monday. The heaviest snow in the Winter Storm Warning areas will be at elevations between 4500 and 5500 feet on Sunday with snow levels lowering to 3500 feet by Monday.

Strong winds are also anticipated with this Pacific front as well. Surf is expected to be high for coastal Washington, Oregon and California through Friday.


Rain and snow showers will begin for the Pacific Northwest Saturday morning continuing to spread east through the afternoon. Embedded heavy downpours and snow are likely for the higher terrain locations in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains in Washington State. A few thunderstorms are possible as well as upper level energy increases.

Rain and snow showers will shift south through the evening hours on Saturday, bringing heavy rain to the California and Oregon coastline for the nighttime hours. Meanwhile, snow will start to spread into the Bitterroot Range of Montana and northern Rocky Mountains. Isolated thunderstorms may even be possible for the Central Valley of California Saturday night!

By Sunday morning, snow showers will be impacting the Sierras of California as well as northern Nevada. Snow will be ongoing for the northern Rocky mountains as the low pressure system continues to trek inland.

This is a fast moving system – less than 36 hours after coming onshore, we will see the main energy move into the four corners region, bringing rain and snow showers back to the Wasatch range of Utah and into Wyoming. Energy will continue to move inland into early next week, lifting the severe weather threat for areas like Dallas, TX once again by Tuesday of next week.


The Sierra Mountains are at 25% of snowpack, and any incoming moisture is desperately needed as drought conditions are still impacting the western United States.

We will continue to have coverage of this Pacific wave in your western regional forecast :50 after the hour on WeatherNation

About the author
Kara has always been passionate about weather and knew from an early age that she wanted to become a meteorologist. Living in different regions of the country and experiencing weather events ranging from ice storms to tornadoes drove her to pursue a bachelor's degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. Throughout college, storm chasing became a regular event for Kara, where she saw fir... Load Morest-hand the power of the atmosphere. Kara graduated cum laude from OU and decided to further her meteorology education with a Master's degree from Mississippi State University. The deadly April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak struck while Kara was studying at MSU; her first “Dixie Alley” tornado event and an up close glimpse into the destruction of the storms she so closely studied. Her broadcast career began in Elvis’ birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi, where she earned her Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society. Kara's career has included coverage of all types of severe weather including tornado events, flooding and tropical systems across multiple southern states. Recently she helped cover the 2020 Easter Sunday deadly tornado outbreak in southeast Mississippi. In her free time, you can find Kara outdoors exploring new areas with her mini poodle,Truffles. Kara is also an avid runner and frequently races in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. Say hi to Kara on Twitter and Facebook!