Strong storm in NorCal; warmer week ahead

A strong storm is currently moving across Northern California. This is a very dynamic storm and has some very cold air associated with the low. Snow was reported at very low elevations along the far North Coast this afternoon, including at the Arcata-Eureka airport (which is only 200 feet above sea level). Heavy rainfall and strong winds gusting up to 50 mph have been reported throughout the rest of NorCal. Snow levels are presently falling and will continue to drop overnight. Snow could briefly fall at sea level once again on the North Coast in convective showers, and snow levels throughout the rest of NorCal could fall into the 1000-1500 foot range. I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see a few locations lower than that receive some snow in the overnight hours as some radiative cooling takes place and cold air advection continues. Some convective elements are present in the frontal band and in the unstable post-frontal airmass offshore, and although I haven’t seen any lightning reports yet, isolated thunderstorms are likely through Wednesday throughout much of NorCal. Due to the cold air aloft, small hail is a near certainty in any storm.


Infrared imagery of present storm system

Southern California will see some rain and mountain snowfall overnight into Monday in addition to locally strong winds, though overall this storm system will be felt much more greatly in Northern California than in the south. Drier and warmer weather is on tap by Tuesday as high pressure builds in from the south. Temperatures will rebound rapidly by midweek, with widespread highs in the 70s and 80s by Wednesday. The models have been struggling greatly with the system slated for next weekend. The GFS brings a fairly cold and large cutoff low into the state whereas the ECMWF indicates more of an inside slider-type system. If the GFS solution comes to pass, CA could be in for a significant springtime convective event. We shall see how this unfolds over the coming week…


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