The first in a series of storms moved through Wednesday night giving us some shower activity. The first batch of moisture had a difficult time making it to the ground meaning evaporation was occurring which is a cooling process. The evaporative cooling coupled with cold air associated with this storm in general will give us low snow levels which will average around 2000 feet but could drop even lower in some areas.
The next storm will arrive Friday and it looks like it has more moisture to work with giving us heavier rain in the valley and snow in the mountains. The winds are also expected to pick up from the south which could mean more rain for places like Redding due to what is known as orographic lifting (strong winds riding up the mountains which squeezes out more moisture from the atmosphere). Snow levels are also expected to slowly rise throughout the day and should be somewhere between 2500 and 3500 feet.
A warmer air mass will move over the Northstate this weekend as sub-tropical moisture will contribute to a good shot of rain. Rain estimates give the valley a couple of inches (close to three in some spots) of rain once all is said and done. One of the biggest concerns will be the potential for debris flows over burn scarred areas. Otherwise, it will be welcomed rain with snow levels 6000 feet and higher.
It looks like drier weather for the beginning of next week with the long range forecast models hinting at some more rain by the end of next week. It’s starting to feel more like winter around here!