‘A pretty significant storm’: Snowfall up to 9 feet in upper elevations, rain up to 7.5 inches Saturday night through Tuesday for Grass Valley

The sun breaks through the clouds along Jefferson Creek Road at Highway 20 Thursday morning, east of Nevada City where fresh snowfall accumulated. Thursday morning’s low snow came down to just below Harmony Ridge, but melted quickly as the day progressed. Precipitation is expected to return by this weekend, with the chance of some low snow by Tuesday.
Photo: Elias Funez

The Grass Valley area measured seven-tenths of an inch of rain following Thursday’s passing storm system, which also brought a dusting of snow down to about 3,000 feet of elevation.

A Caltrans tire chain or 4-wheel-drive with snow tire checkpoint was temporarily established along Highway 20, just east of Nevada City until the storm cleared.

Vehicles navigate Highway 20 following Thursday morning’s snowfall. A Caltrans check for tire chains or snow tires was set up just outside of Nevada City until the weather system cleared.
Photo: Elias Funez

The next few days are expected to remain relatively dry but brisk, with highs in the low 50s and overnight lows in the upper 30s and lower 40s before giving way to a significant winter storm system later Saturday night.

“Right now we’re still on track and expecting this to be a pretty significant storm,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Hannah Chandler-Cooley said.

Rain and snow clouds part to reveal a dusting of snow on the mountains visible from the Jefferson Creek Overlook off Highway 20, east of Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We are still forecasting multiple feet of snow for the Sierra, anywhere from 2 to 5 feet. Above 6,000 feet can see some local area accumulation of 6 to 9 feet.”

The resulting storm has prompted the weather service to warn of dangerous mountain travel with the possibility of highway road closures due to dangerous conditions.

Tree branches laden with snow are illuminated by the early morning sun off Highway 20, east of Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

“This storm is looking like it will last through Tuesday, the heaviest precipitation will likely be Sunday and Monday with still some snow falling through Tuesday and probably some lighter showers into Wednesday,” Chandler-Cooley added.


Low snow levels could come down as low as 2,000 feet during the latter part of the storm, later in the day on Tuesday.

Snowfall a few inches thick accumulated at the Omega Diggings trail overlook at 5,000 feet elevation following Thursday’s weather system.
Photo: Elias Funez

“It does look like that time frame late in the day on Tuesday when those snow levels will start dropping,” Chandler-Cooley said. “It will be after that main push of precipitation but there still may be some lighter amounts at those elevations.”

Five to 7.5 inches of precipitation are forecast for the Grass Valley region Saturday night through Tuesday.

Snowfall accumulates along Missouri Bar Road, nine miles east of Nevada City along Highway 20 Thursday morning.
Photo: Elias Funez
The sun sets in dramatic fashion over Nevada County following Thursday’s rain and snowfall. Three quarters of an inch of rain were recorded in Grass Valley following the passing storm system.
Photo: Elias Funez

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez email, or call 530-477-4230

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