The First Glimpse of Snow and Rain Returns to NorCal with A LOT More on the Way

Photo by Don Graham

Following a historic late-October storm that filled the Northern California mountains with snow and brought large amounts of precipitation to local waterways, the month of November fell flat. It gave us the fake hope that we may soon see the end of the extreme drought throughout the region.

With ski resorts opening and closing, and reservoirs rising and falling, it seemed we were once again fooled by Mother Nature. Now, rain and snow is returning to NorCal, hopefully bringing a long and wet winter.

Up to 10 inches of snow is forecast to fall on the Sierra from Monday to Wednesday, along with light rain in lower elevation areas. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for this little drizzle by the National Weather Service:

The storm certainly won’t rescue us from the depths of drought, it signals a longer trend of precipitation in the region that could kickstart winter the right way.

From December 12 through December 18, a series of cold, wet storms will blast the region from Mount Shasta to the Eastern Sierra. The forecast models are still developing but this could be the snow needed to replenish local snowpacks and reopen ski resorts.

Here’s the current outlook for South Lake Tahoe:


Of course, these patterns could change over the coming week, but it signals a shifting in the season for NorCal. Winter is finally here and the storms are on their way. With local reservoir levels dropping to historic lows this year, one fruitful winter probably won’t resurrect us from drought. In fact, scientists predict that the Sierra will need to see a record-breaking 800 inches of snow to return Lake Tahoe to its brim.

But we have to start somewhere, and that place is here.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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