Wintry weather is on the way | SierraSun.com

Wintry weather is on the way

Sara Thompson
Sun News Service

This weekend will be a good time to bake a batch of pumpkin bread and curl up with a good book, as a wintry storm moves into the area.

In what the National Weather Service calls “a drastic change in the weather,” strong winds, cold temperatures, rain and snow at higher elevations will hit the area Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a little early and a little stronger than what we’d normally see, but it’s not out of the ordinary,” Kyle Mozley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said of the approaching storm.

Winds could gust as high as 50 to 80 mph on Friday, with temperatures near or below freezing on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Rain will move into the area Friday, and snow is expected at 8,000 feet on Saturday evening, with possible accumulation at 7,000 feet. Snow is even possible at lake level, although it’s not expected to accumulate.

The weather service advises residents to secure their outdoor furniture or bring it inside to prevent it from blowing away in the storm.

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And motorists are reminded to carry tire chains when driving in the mountains, and beware of slick roads and reduced visibility.

For people who have plants outside, it’s best to bring them indoors this weekend, said Blaze Hiob, Scotty’s Hardware assistant manager. If that’s not possible, cover the plants with plastic or a sheet. “It’s to keep the chill off, and that’s about all you can do,” Hiob said.

Homeowners can start preparing for the winter season by making sure their pipes are insulated and have heat tape on them, Hiob said. They can close foundation vents that might have been left open all summer, disconnect outdoor hoses, put heat tape on the roof and make sure their snowblowers are tuned up.

Even with winter weather on the horizon, fire season isn’t quite over. The estimated half-inch of precipitation won’t be enough for residents or firefighters to let their guard down after a very dry summer, said Chelsea Fox with Calfire.

“What this system does for the fire season depends on how much rain we get and what weather follows,” Fox said. “But we’ve seen moderate size fires occur after an inch of rain on the east side of the Sierra.”

Fox said fuel moisture still is considered very dry for the area. “We plan to keep the same staffing until we get at least 2 to 3 inches, then we’ll evaluate the fuel moisture,” she said.