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A weak storm system will bring only clouds and a few showers to the North Bay on Monday.


After a break for Tuesday and Wednesday a much stronger, much colder storm will sweep in from the north. The storm will last from Thursday into Sunday and bring moderate amounts of cold rain, but lots of snow to the Sierra and other mountains of California.


Snow was fallilng in the Sierra Monday, but the North Bay will see only scattered showers from this first weak system. Attention will quickly shift to a cold, showery storm that is due to arrive Thursday and bring chilly, wet and blustery weather through most of the upcoming weekend.


Tuesday and Wednesday will be nice days, with some sun.  But by Wednesday a deep area of cold air and low pressure will race down the West Coast from Alaska.

This system will bring very cold air, especially for March. By Friday and Saturday the core of the cold air will arrive over Central California.

The track of the storm will allow it to pick up lots of moisture from the relatively warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean and send it into California. However unlike our recent storms, this system will have only a minor subtropical moisture connection.

For us in the North Bay that means this will be a very cold and blustery storm, but will drop only moderate amounts of rain, from 1-2.5 inches over the course of 3-4 days.

With the extremely cold air and orographic enhancement as the air is forced over the Sierra, this should be the biggest snowmaker of the season in the mountains. Some forecasts have as much as 60-90 inches of snow (5-7 feet) falling from Thursday through Monday in the Northern and Central Sierra.

Travel to the mountains is not advised between midday Thursday through Saturday at least as roads like I-80 will be snarled and likely closed at times.

You can see the graphic shows the possibility of snow to low elevations in the North Bay. The best chance for that will be Friday and to a lesser extend Saturday morning as the coldest air combines with showers overnight. We should note however that the European outlook is one of the only ones to show this extent of low elevation snow.

But what’s certain is that temperatures will be much colder than average for the date with lows in the low 30s Friday and Saturday nights.

Beyond next Monday, the outlook is a bit murky. Most models show a trend toward drier but continued colder than normal weather for California into the 2nd week of March.

More updates to come.

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