ROANOKE, Va. – The epic storm in California has come to an end. By the weekend, its moisture will spread across Virginia as heavy rain and some ice plus heavy snow to the Northeast. The heavy rain caused mudslides in the lower elevations of California. The impressive snow accumulations will keep skiers happy for the foreseeable future.
The most recent snowfall update from the National Weather Service in Sacramento was from Thursday afternoon, while the storm was still going. With that said, places especially above 7,000 feet had already picked up more than four feet of snow. That four feet of snow was picked up in just 48 hours.
The National Weather Service had forecast the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevadas to close in on 100" of snow over a three day period.
The Sierra Nevadas are in a prime spot for very heavy snow in the winter time. Onshore flow brings deep Pacific moisture right up to the mountains. The mountains then force up that moisture cooling it and enhancing snow rates. This type of set-up is more likely to happen in an El-Nino winter, like the one we are currently in. Spots along the Sierra Nevada range average more than 200" per year.
Along with the snow, the winds were extremely strong. Gusts above 8,000 feet were recorded to be near 140 mph!