Up to 3,5 m of snow expected in California: the worst winter storm this year hit the state - ForumDaily
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Up to 3,5 m of snow expected in California: the worst winter storm this year hit the state

An extremely severe winter storm has reached California. It will create potentially life-threatening conditions and bring strong winds and snowstorms. Up to 3,7 meters of snow is expected to fall in mountainous areas, reports CNN.

Photo: iStock.com/JasonDoiy

The storm will bring the heaviest snowfall of the year to California. This poses a significant risk to travelers.

“We can say that it will be dangerous to travel on roads or even leave your home during this storm,” the National Weather Service in Reno, Nevada, said on February 28. “Road visibility will be minimal during snowstorms, so now is not the time to risk your life or the life of your family.”

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Snow began falling in the Pacific Northwest late on February 28 and moved to the northern California Coast Range early on February 29. As snow continues to spread across California, strong winds and snowstorms will increase.

Snowfalls, blizzards and strong winds

From March 1 to 2, snowfall is expected to reach extreme levels of 7,6 to nearly 13 cm per hour, especially along the Sierra Nevada.

Such long-lasting and heavy heavy snowfall means that 1,8 to 3 meters of snow could cut off life in parts of the Sierra in just two to three days.

The most extreme conditions will occur at the highest altitudes. Wind gusts of more than 160 mph are expected at the Sierra's highest peaks, and up to 60 cm of snow is forecast. Very strong winds are expected to make it difficult to accurately measure precipitation as huge snow drifts are possible.

Heavy snowfall and roaring winds are forecast to combine to produce persistent snowstorms across much of the Sierra and parts of the northern ranges. Visibility can drop to almost zero, meaning that in the worst snowstorms it will be impossible to see further than half a meter.

Given these conditions, there is a “high likelihood of significant and long-term disruption to daily life in the higher Sierra Nevada from March 1 to March 2,” the Weather Prediction Center warned.

Yosemite National Park, which is under a blizzard warning for the weekend, is closed from March 1 until at least the afternoon of March 3, the National Park Service said. Guests are advised to leave the park as soon as possible as up to 2,5 meters of snow may fall there.

Around 30cm of snow is expected in areas down to 1,5m over the weekend. Stressful conditions at lower elevations increase the risk of road hazards.

The weather service warned that travel in the Sierra over the weekend would be "extremely dangerous to impossible." Some major roads, such as I-80, may be closed for extended periods.

Strong winds will spread well beyond the storm. Through March 3, wind gusts in excess of 88 mph are likely across much of the West, including the Rockies.

Strong and sustained winds can knock down trees and power lines, causing damage and power outages.

On March 3, California is forecast to experience the heaviest snowfall of the year and the strongest winds will slowly subside. But another less intense snow storm could develop as early as March 4 in Northern California.

Snow cover replenishment

One silver lining to this winter storm is that it will provide much-needed snow cover to the Sierra Nevada. The storm will eliminate snowpack deficits in some areas of the Sierra.

With the colossal amount of snow forecast to blanket the Sierra over the weekend, this is a good chance to close the snowpack gap or exceed typical levels.

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Snow cover is a vital source of water. California Department of Water Resources studies help the state predict how much water will be available for the rest of the year.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, millions of people in the West depend on melting snowpack during warm months for hydroelectric power, as well as drinking water and irrigation resources.

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Miscellanea snow storm California
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