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More rain coming tonight, snow at high elevations

Dave Moller
Senior staff writer

High clouds rolling in Monday are expected to cause heavy rains with gusting winds and thunderstorms after dusk in western Nevada County. The National Weather Service in Sacramento expects the strong weather to last through Tuesday.

Snow levels will start at 6,000 feet according to Harry Stockman at the Qwikcast.com Weather Service and drop to 4,000 Tuesday morning as a colder cell merges in from the coast. The National Weather Service said the snow level could even reach 3,000 feet Tuesday night.

“There will be a pretty large amount of precipitation,” in the next round of storms,” Stockman said. “We could see a foot to two feet of new snow at the higher elevations for the ski resorts.”

Wind gusts could reach 30 to 50 mph across ridge tops and at higher elevations. Mountain travelers are advised to allow plenty of driving time and to keep tire chains, water, food, a blanket and flashlight with them.

The tail end of the storm system could cause residual showers Wednesday, but the chance is slight and drier weather is predicted for Wednesday night and Thursday, Stockman said. There will be another chance for spring rains Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The recent month-long rash of storms has left the Nevada Irrigation District Reservoirs full and the NID board has approved sales of surplus water for the growing season, according to Don Wight, NID’s operations manager.

Wight said a snowpack reading taken March 1 showed 64 percent of normal, “but obviously since then we’ve had a substantial amount of precipitation and snowpack,” Wight said.

An initial low-level measurement for next month’s snow survey taken Monday morning at Scott’s Flat Lake showed 38.9 inches of snow with a whopping 16.4 inches of water content. That is 607 percent above normal water content there for this time of year, according to Sue Sindt, NID operations supervisor.

Sindt expects the higher elevation snowpack to be around 100 percent of average when the surveys are taken next week.

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