Winter Weather Alert for Weekend
Temperatures peaking in the mid to upper 60s on Thursday with mostly fair skies. The weekly Drought Monitor report is out and our Exceptional Drought is largely unchanged going from 41% of the state last week to 40% this week. Meantime, a strong winter storm is barreling down from the north and should be in our region by Friday evening.
I have issued a Winter Weather Alert for the Kern County mountains valid from 2AM on Saturday through 10AM on Sunday. The forecast is for 3-6" of new snow accumulation above 5,000 feet, 1-2" above 4,000 feet and some snowfall down to 3,500 feet during this period. The major passes will have some snow to deal with Saturday evening into Sunday morning. A separate portion of the upcoming system will potentially affect our area again late Sunday and Monday. In the south valley, between a quarter inch and half inch of rain is expected.
Computer models are trending down on precipitation amounts, but this may be a wrinkle in the model initialization. So I'm keeping the previous thinking with up to .50" possible in the south valley. There will also be the potential for thunderstorms on Sunday that could deliver some small hail and lightning strikes. Funnel clouds from this cold core system are also possible. A repeat of last Monday's tornado is unlikely, but not impossible. Showers will persist through Tuesday before a drying trend develops for Wednesday and beyond into the following weekend.
Temperatures will be below seasonal norms for this weekend. Snow levels in the mountains will gradually rise on Monday afternoon back to around 4,500 feet. The next good chance for rain comes about 2 weeks out from now- beyond the end of the 10-day forecast period.
2-26-15 9:08 pm Chief Meteorologist MILES MUZIO