What little precipitation fell on Grass Valley Tuesday might only be the precursor to colder and more moist weather expected to peak with snow Friday.
“What is very significant is our computer models are starting to converge on a storm arriving on Friday and continuing through the weekend and maybe beyond,” said National Weather Service forecaster Eric Kurth.
“It is going to be a cold system with some moisture,” Kurth said. “Pretty significant amounts, so we’ve issued a winter storm watch.”
Already, snow was reported in flurries seven miles east of Nevada City Tuesday, at approximately 3,450 feet elevation, according to forecaster Brooke Bingaman.
“It looks like most of the accumulation of snow happened between 5,000 (feet) and the peaks,” Bingaman said. “The observations have been between 1 and 4 inches, the highest at the 8,000 (feet) elevation.”
With snow falling and temperatures projected to stay below freezing in the coming days, ski resorts around Lake Tahoe are considering opening up, if they aren’t already.
Squaw Valley is open, but Alpine Meadows is aiming for a Dec. 13 opening as the two resorts reported up to 4 inches Tuesday with snow still coming down.
“Temps are low enough that we’re pinning the needle on snow-making, too,” said Sugar Bowl spokesman John Monson in an email, noting that they hope to determine an opening date in the coming days.
Snow could accumulate as much as 3 or 6 inches in the Sierra Nevada foothills at the end of the week with more expected in the higher mountains, Kurth said.
“We’re pretty concerned with this type of system. There are some hints that (snow) could (fall) lower than 1,000 feet,” Kurth said. “A place like Grass Valley could be impacted significantly.”
Tuesday’s rain represented the onset of a cold front, bringing cold temperatures in the 40s during the day and below freezing overnight through Thursday.
By Friday, temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s during the day until the beginning of next week.
While Kurth said the accumulated snow could be a blessing to ski and snowboard enthusiasts, he cautioned drivers.
“If I were driving up to the resorts this weekend, I would be pretty cautious,” Kurth said.
With some trees still clinging to their leaves, Kurth also warned that snow could instigate power outages.
“It is certainly giving us concern,” he said.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.