The storm over the Gulf of Alaska is inching closer and closer to the Northstate and we will eventually feel its impacts throughout the day on Thursday. The storm is moving slower than we initially thought and some of us won’t see any rain or snow until we get closer to the evening hours on Thursday.
We’ll start Thursday morning off with snow in Trinity, Siskiyou and Northern Shasta County including the cities of Weaverville, Hayfork, Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir and McCloud (just to name a few). We will already see some heavy snow in some of these areas meaning travel on I-5 north of Redding will most likely see delays as well as highways 299, 36 and 3 west of the valley. It’s really not until the late afternoon hours when the highways east of the valley (299, 44, 36, 89) will start feeling the storm’s impact.
Many people in Redding have been wondering whether or not they will see snow again with this storm and based on the latest forecast model data it’s looking like a pretty good possibility. Since this storm has more moisture associated with it we could also be looking at heavier snow with the chance for a few inches of accumulation. Another element we’re watching is the wind. Cold air is expected to be trapped over Redding on Thursday and all it takes is a south wind to mix that out and suddenly we have rain instead of snow. Because we are expecting a dense pocket of cold air over Redding the strong 25+ mph south winds in Red Bluff and Chico are expected to be blocked over Redding meaning the air won’t be mixed out keeping our temperatures cold enough for snow. All bets for snow in Redding are off, however, if those winds penetrate the cold air and mix it out. Now you can see why forecasting snow in the valley can be very tricky.
We do know that the series of storms moving through the next four days will bring low snow levels meaning heavy snow in some of the lower elevation mountain communities. We are seeing signs of 3 to 5 feet of snow in some areas (not all) above 3000 feet including Mount Shasta City, McCloud and Chester just to name a few. Weaverville and Hayfork could see about a foot of snow, Montgomery Creek and Burney 1-2 feet, Alturas 1 foot and Paradise 6-12 inches. Valley rain could add up between 2 to 4 inches once all is said and done Thursday through Sunday.
There may be a few isolated showers on Christmas Eve but for now it looks like dry weather on Christmas day with highs in the low 50’s. For now it looks like more wet weather on Wednesday of next week.