More rain expected for Nevada County this week | TheUnion.com

More rain expected for Nevada County this week

Batten down the hatches. A new storm is on the horizon for Nevada County, and that means a better snowpack, forecasters say.

A Pacific storm is expected to hit late tonight with widespread rain, mountain snow and breezy winds Tuesday, said the National Weather Service. Mountain travel will be impacted as snow levels drop below pass levels.

The rain could be heavy at times, the weather service said, with temperatures predicted to fall to around 46 degrees by 4 p.m. Showers are predicted for Tuesday night, with a low around 36 degrees.

A second, colder storm is being forecasted to bring additional periods of rain in the lower elevations, snow in the mountains, and gusty wind from late Wednesday into early Saturday. Afternoon thunderstorms with small hail will be possible.

“That should go a long way to building up the snowpack. We will not be back to normal levels

— we have been low. But after this week, it will improve.”

— Eric Kurth, weather service forecaster

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"These storms are not as cold, they are more wet," said weather service forecaster Eric Kurth.

The two storms are spread out over the next five days. Kurth said about 3 to 5 inches of rain total is expected in the foothills, with 5 to 8 inches possible in the mountains.

"It will start out warm," he said. "The snow levels are high right now, but the second storm will see a drop in snow levels."

Tuesday, Kurth said, the snow level will drop to pass level by mid-day, down to 4,500 feet by Tuesday evening.

"Overnight, the snow levels should drop below 4,000 feet to the 3,500-foot level, maybe even a little lower Wednesday during the day," he said, adding the weather service is not expecting any accumulation in Grass Valley or Nevada City.

Kurth said that "extensive snow" is predicted in the Blue Canyon area.

"The current projection is 65 inches, so that's impressive," he said. "That should go a long way to building up the snowpack. We will not be back to normal levels — we have been low. But after this week, it will improve."

And the good news should continue, Kurth said.

"It doesn't look like we will go back to a long period of dry warm weather," he said. "It looks like we will get a lull on the weekend, but there are signs of a pretty significant storm Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, … This is encouraging, to see this wetter pattern and cooler storms."

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.