Winter storm wallop: Snow levels expected to drop |

Winter storm wallop: Snow levels expected to drop

Motorists drive under a fallen pine tree along McCourtney Road at Thoroughbred Loop during Thursday afternoon's rain and wind storm. The tree came to rest on the power lines until utility companies could remove it.
Elias Funez/ |

Nevada County’s most significant winter storm of the season brought much needed precipitation Thursday, but not without strong wind gusts that felled tree limbs and caused power outages and traffic hazards.

By 6 p.m. Thursday, Grass Valley received 2.33 inches of rain and Nevada City 2.06 inches within a 24-hour period.

National Weather Service reports of the most significant snowfall to hit the Sierra foothills since 2011, prompted many in Nevada County to hit the supermarkets in search of items to stock the shelves in the case of power outages or getting snowed in.

A cold front is expected to hit the region after midnight Thursday night into this morning, bringing snow levels down into Grass Valley and Nevada City before sunrise.

“We’ve got snow levels dropping by morning, down to about 1,700 feet,” National Weather Service Forecaster Karl Swanberg said Thursday. “The cooler air is coming in after midnight.”

Snow levels will rise to 2,600 feet by the end of the day Friday, leaving Grass Valley and Nevada City in the sweet spot for snowfall all day.

While precipitation is expected to diminish after Friday morning’s snowfall, a second wave is expected to return mid-day Friday.

“Lower elevations could see 1 inch to 4 inches (of snow),” Swanberg said. “Closer to 3,000 feet, they could have 10 inches or more. We still have heavy snow expected for the pass levels.”

A thunderstorm warning is also in effect for today, which could produce some brief heavy sleet or hail showers.

While more precipitation is expected for Saturday, the winter storm will be losing steam, though there still will be the potential for low snow.

“At this point the snow might be tapering off in the higher elevations, but there could be some,” Swanberg said of Saturday’s snow forecast.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email, or call 530-477-4230.

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