Awaiting a rainy day: Truckee could see a half-inch of rain

Native California fuchsia overlooks the Jefferson Creek and South Yuba River canyons near Washington Road and Highway 20 on Tuesday afternoon. The first waves of a weather system that could bring some rain are approaching Nevada County.
Photo: Elias Funez

According to the National Weather Service, the cooling temperatures that arrive today will abate fire weather concerns through the weekend.

Meteorologist Eric Kurth said the western Nevada County region experienced a 20-degree drop within the span of two days this week, with a high of 86 degrees Monday, dropping to 76 degrees Tuesday, to 66 degrees today.



Today — 57

Thursday — 53

Friday — 48

Saturday — 56

Sunday — 63

Monday — 50

Tuesday — 44

Grass Valley

Today — 66

Thursday — 62

Friday – 58

Saturday — 65

Sunday — 70

Monday — 62

The cool front, which began encroaching on the state Tuesday, originated from the Gulf of Alaska, Kurth said.

“It’s not uncommon for us in the fall to have low pressure systems develop there and drop to the south,” Kurth said, adding that the climate phenomenon generally brings cooler temperatures, some windy conditions and precipitation.

Kurth said this particular low-pressure trough will gradually move inland over the next several days, bringing progressively cooler temperatures.

“In this case, it looks like the bigger impacts we’re going to feel is the temperature,” Kurth said. “Temperatures will drop another 4 to 5 degrees going into Thursday, and then the Friday high drops even further.”

The trough began moving into the northwestern part of the state Tuesday night, and should spread throughout Northern California today.

Kurth said Smartsville’s pre-weekend temperatures will hover around the mid-60s, but eastern county highs peak in the mid-40s.

“There is some precipitation that should be setting in,” Kurth said. “It will be the highest over the Sierra — especially south of I-80.”

Kurth said some showers could crop up along the Truckee region by this afternoon, but the best window for moisture is expected to be between Thursday and Friday.

In lower regions of the county, like Grass Valley, the meteorologist expects showers to stop after five-hundredths of an inch. Moving east, Kurth said Blue Canyon is expected to receive a quarter-inch of precipitation.

“More toward Truckee, Soda Springs area, it will be a half-inch,” Kurth said. “It tapers off quite a bit.”

No snow is expected below the pass, Kurth said, but added that he would not be surprised if ski resorts with elevations exceeding 7,500 feet received 1 to 3 inches of wet snow.

The “highest” amount of precipitation is expected to be a half-inch — possibly in the form of snow as opposed to rain at higher elevation.


Kurth said another wetter front should stop by next week, but Nevada County may dry out with some northeastern winds before then.

“We’re going to have some dry weather before the next system comes the following week,” Kurth said, referring to more mountain precipitation expected Monday to Tuesday of next week.

Kurth said, as an incident meteorologist, he takes great interest in the effects of micro-climates on fire risks and behaviors.

“Sometimes it can be really complex,” Kurth said. “If there are several canyons together, it can create eddies of swirling winds a quarter of a mile away.”

Kurth said he did not have any sweeping generalizations about Nevada County’s fire season as the region enters fall, but did acknowledge different moisture trends in 2020 to 2021.

“We started off pretty dry this year,” Kurth said. “Last year we had a late fire season and the precipitation came late in the spring months — April, May and June. This year, we stopped very early on. We didn’t see much moisture after mid-March and we had an earlier fire season.”

The fire risk early or late season depends on how much rain the region gets, as well as when it gets that rain, because moisture affects the flammability of potential fuel sources.

“The timing varies from year to year,” Kurth said.

Kurth said weekend travelers can look forward to more moderate temperatures, but noted that the Bay Area fall looks more than hospitable.

The Bay is not necessarily hotter in October, Kurth said, but the region does experience more pleasant weather.

“In the summer you can get hot weather in the Bay Area but because we generate a lot of heat in the (Central) valley, it pulls cool air from the ocean and it ends up being pretty chilly in the Bay Area,” Kurth said. “They’re not getting the pull from hot air in the Central Valley, so it’s blue skies and more pleasant temperatures this time of year.”

With the tourist season on its last legs, the South Yuba River Citizen’s League is finally in a position to assess visitor impacts.

SYRCL on Friday released a community survey following a 100-person discussion on the topic during a Sept. 8 town hall. The nonprofit wants to crowd source observations, criticisms and devise potential solutions together using the survey.

“We have heard from many constituents via email, social media, and in-person inquiries about their concerns over the number of people visiting the Yuba each year,” said Melinda Booth, SYRCL’s executive director in a press release. “We hope that this survey will allow even more people to express their opinions.”

The survey will remain open through Oct. 23. After the results are analyzed, they will be presented to the South Yuba River Safety Cohort — a collaboration comprised of supervisors and staff, state and federal agencies, local NGOs, and community representatives. It’s co-chaired by Supervisors Heidi Hall and Sue Hoek.

According to SYRCL’s press release, findings and recommendations will then be compiled into a booklet and released to the public.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

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