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    Western US weather expert

    Cold California Storm Brings Rain and Snow

    12/11/2012, 1:31:25 AM

    A storm now in the Gulf of Alaska will drop south through the Northwest Tuesday and Tuesday night then head for California for Wednesday and Thursday.

    In the Northwest, rain will spread from northwest to southeast from the Cascades on west from morning through the afternoon. Rain and snow showers will expand east of the Cascades later Tuesday and Tuesday night. This is not going to be a big storm by Northwest standards. In fact, it will not really be anything out of the ordinary. Snow levels will drop from 3,000 to 3,500 feet Tuesday to 2,000 feet Tuesday night. From 4 to 8 inches of snow seem likely at pass level.

    In California, rain and mountain snow that moves into northern California Tuesday night will spread south during the day, arriving in the Los Angeles area late in the day then down in San Diego at night. Here, too, the track of the storm is not conducive to bringing a lot of rain. Many places will pick up 0.25 to 0.50 of an inch of rain with some terrain enhanced areas getting perhaps double that. The biggest thing with this storm will be the much lower snow levels. Snow levels will start at 5,000 feet in the northern Sierra Wednesday morning and 6,000 to 6,500 feet in the southern California mountains in the late afternoon. However, behind the cold front, snow levels will plummet. They are likely to range from 2,000 to 3,000 feet from north to south in the Sierra by later Wednesday night and Thursday and to 4,000 to 4,500 feet in southern California. The ski resorts in the Sierra should receive 7 to 14 inches of snow, and in southern California, 3 to 6 inches seem most likely. There will be snow through the passes in the southern Sierra as well as the Grapevine so be prepared for slick travel at times. Many places in the lowlands are only likely to have highs in the 50s Thursday, even in southern California.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Western US weather expert