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California will get a break between storm systems from Wednesday the 1st through Friday the 3rd, before more storms arrive with rain and heavy mountain snow.

On Wednesday, the latest storm that brought blizzard conditions to the Sierra can be seen moving away to the southeast. Snow blankets the Sierra and vast areas of California above 1500 feet.

High pressure will build in briefly, before another low pressure trough and associated storm arrives on Saturday the 4th of March.

This storm looks likely to send waves of moisture, with heavy showers at times into Tuesday the 7th.

And, our expected rain from Saturday the 4th through Tuesday the 7th.

The models currently disagree whether we get a break next week, around Wednesday the 8th. The European model has high pressure building in for a day or two.

While the GFS model has another low pressure center arriving around midweek.

This is a pretty stark disagreement among the major models. Let’s hope we trend toward at least a slight break next week. For now, the European and Canadian models bring us fair weather Wednesday the 8th and Thursday the 9th, while the GFS (below) brings in the next storm.

This may be a transition time as our pattern of cold wet storms from the north changes to a new pattern of relatively warmer storms from the west. The southern branch of the jet stream is forecast to strengthen and drive storms into California from the 10th or so through mid-month or even beyond.

Here’s what the jet stream will look like this weekend.

By the 15th the jet stream forecast looks like this, with a zonal (straight line) pattern developing, and a clear southern branch reaching California.

Whatever happens, the major ensemble models, averaging lots of possible outcomes, agree that we may be pretty wet from late next week (around the 10th) through mid-month.

While we ponder all of that, let’s look at how the state’s water supply stands. First off the Snow Water Equivalent in the Sierra, the amount of water that the snowpack holds, is nearing record territory.

Overall across the entire range we stand at 189% of average for the date, and 166% of our average for April 1st, which is considered the height of the traditional snowpack.


Statewide, reservoirs are catching up or already exceeding their historical average for the date. Lake Sonoma is at 104% of average storage for the date. The green lines and numbers represent historical averages. The blue numbers represent the percentage of the full flood control capacity of the reservoir which is rarely reached.

Here in the North Bay, most stations have reached their average rainfall for the entire water year, with March and April still to come. The first graphic is actual rainfall, the second is percentage of an average full water year.

We’ll keep you up to date with additional posts as our dynamic winter weather continues!

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