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Forecast: Sierra blizzard; valley rain, wind & frost
tidewater weather
Trees in bloom between storms Monday afternoon along the Moffat Boulevard segment of the Tidewater Bikeway in Manteca.

March is poised to come in like a lion.

And based on the National Weather Service’s outlook, the storm hitting the Northern San Joaquin Valley and the rest of Northern California Thursday through early Sunday will be rip-roaring.

*Snow level could drop as low as 1,500 to 3,000 feet on Saturday meaning the Diablo Range flanking the Altamont Pass could see at least a slight dusting.

*Between and 1.5 inches of rain is expected in the Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop area.

*Upwards of 60 to 78 inches of snow could fall on Sonora Pass (Highway 108) at 9,624 feet.

*Blizzard conditions will occur in the Sierra with snow accumulations as high as 2 inches an hour at times.

*Valley winds could be as strong as 20 to 30 mph.

*Sunday could bring frost to South San Joaquin County.

*There is a 20 percent chance snow will fall on the northern Sacramento Valley floor on Saturday.

*The heaviest snowfall will be in the Cascades and the Northern Sierra.

It is all expected to be part of the storm slamming Pacific Northwest that is forecast to bring snow and cold to the upper Midwest and Northeast.

If the heavy snowfall predicted for the Stanislaus River Basin pans out, it will likely wipeout any snowpack water content deficit given the cold nature of the system.

The only conceivable monkey wrench remaining for the current water year would be if it was followed up by above average March temperatures accompanied by warm rains.

Such a combination would most likely force reservoirs to switch to more robust flood control operations.

As of Sunday, Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop had received 9.90 inches since July 1.

That is 104 percent of normal as of Feb. 25.

It is 74 percent of the 13.40 inches the region receives in a typical year.

The weather year ends June 30.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email