The heaviest snow storm in recent years is expected to hit Northern California late tonight through Saturday dropping between 48 to 60 inches on Sonora Pass on the upper reach of the Stanislaus River water shed.
The National Weather Service anticipates between 1 and 2 inches of rain through Saturday in the Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop area. Snow levels will be as low as 2,500 to 4,000 feet initially before dropping to 1,500 to 2,500 feet by Friday.
Snow draped Mt. Diablo and its sister peaks as well as mountain ridges south of Altamont Pass as the first of the week’s two predicted storms moved through the region late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. Dusting of snow also was reported in spots throughout the Sacramento Valley.
The cold and unstable storm arrived overnight with bouts of hail and rain, sometimes heavy, and left a coat of white on mountain ranges east of Los Angeles and southward through the interior of San Diego County.
The scene was a marked change from a season that had been generally warmer than normal with precipitation far below average.
“It’s a winter wonderland out there this morning!” the San Diego area National Weather Service office tweeted.
Snowplows worked to clear roads, and chains were required on some routes. Students in some high-elevation school districts were given a snow day.
In terms of rain, Los Angeles County was a big winner with a quarter-inch (0.64 centimeter) to a half-inch (1.27 centimeter) overnight.
In Santa Barbara County, however, there was little rain on the wildfire-scarred mountains above Montecito, where crews are still cleaning up after a deluge unleashed devastating debris flows in January.
Santa Barbara County said the “pre-evacuation advisory” it had already issued for residents of its south coast would remain in effect for the next storm.