Heavy Snow Coming to Sierras This Weekend

The heavy precipitation is a result of an 'atmospheric river' and will begin Friday night

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Mammoth Mountain

Heavy rain, high elevation snow and strong gusty winds will move into Northern California Friday night, and through the weekend. A series of storms are expected to produce over 2 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra.

“This will be a wet and warm storm system with high snow levels, so it will be mostly a rain event, except for the highest elevations in the Sierra, said NBC 7 Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh.

“The heaviest rain and snow will occur Saturday morning into the early afternoon, and elevations above 8500 feet could see up to 2 feet by Sunday morning.”

Kodesh explained that this series of storms is part of an “atmospheric river” that has formed.

Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport large amounts of water vapor. These columns of water vapor move with the weather.

“It’s like a river in the sky,” Kodesh explained. “A decent atmospheric river can carry the amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River. So, when an atmospheric river situation comes up, it’s usually associated with very heavy rain, or high elevation snow.”

Mammoth is forecast to start receiving snow Friday night, with heavy snow anticipated for Saturday and Sunday morning.

While Sunday and Monday will bring a break in the precipitation, another storm on Tuesday could raise the snow total to over 3 feet in the higher Sierra.

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