Weekend California Storm with Rain, Mountain Snow

By By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
March 26, 2012, 2:24:53 AM EDT

About a week after the St. Patrick's Day storm unleashed heavy rain and mountain snow in California, another storm is impacting the Golden State.

The weekend is starting with rain and snow invading northern California as the storm churns offshore.

It is not just the mountain peaks that have received snow, but also the surrounding foothills.

Early Saturday morning, between 3 and 4 inches of snow whitened an area northwest of Briceland, Calif., located at an elevation of 1,500 feet.

Rain and mountain snow will overspread the rest of California as the weekend progresses. The wet weather will reach Fresno and Los Angeles late tonight, but will take until Sunday afternoon to reach San Diego.


It is possible that a couple of thunderstorms accompany the rain into Southern California, where airline passengers may face flight delays on Sunday.

The rain also threatens to interfere with NASCAR's Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup race Sunday afternoon in Fontana.

Meanwhile, a foot of snow will thump the Sierra with heavier amounts burying the mountains surrounding Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.

"Snow levels in the Sierra will start out around 5,000 to 5,500 feet, then drop to 4,000 feet (after the heaviest precipitation has moved away)," stated AccuWeather.com Western Expert Meteorologist Ken Clark.


"In Southern California, the snow level starts out at 6,000 feet or a little higher, then drops down to 4,500 to 5,000 feet at night. This should mean no travel problems over the Southern California passes."

Ahead of the storm's rain and mountain snow, strong wind gusts will whip the interior Southwest on Sunday. The winds threaten to cause damage and problems for drivers of high-profile vehicles.

Unlike the St. Patrick's Day Storm, this one will not deliver much more than rain and snow showers to northern Arizona. The track of this storm will steer it more to the northeast toward Utah rather than eastward into Arizona.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Meghan Evans contributed to the content of this story.

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