UPDATE 3/15/20 11:45 a.m. — The winter storm has brought significant snow fall to higher elevations around Mendocino County on Saturday evening, including snow on U.S. Route 101 at the Ridgewood Summit, and reports of over nine inches in more northern county mountainous areas like Bell Springs Road in Laytonville. The storm also caused a number of power outages around north county, including about 1,115 customer accounts (which can be one household or business) in Covelo beginning around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. PG&E is currently working on that outage, and has not provided an estimated time for that the power will be restored.
More winter weather is forecasted through Sunday evening. The National Weather Service’s radar station in Eureka, located on Bunker Hill, is currently undergoing repairs, and will not be back. online until Monday, March 16.
The storm was the first winter weather event in more than a month due to an unusually warm and dry late winter and early spring on the North Coast. Firefighters also responded to a residential structure fire on Sherwood Road this morning reportedly started by a chimney flue catching fire.
UPDATE 9:45 p.m. — The National Weather Service’s Eureka office has updated their estimate of snowfall, saying now that even more snow and rain is expected, and that snow could fall as low as 1200 feet in the north and 1800 feet in southern Mendocino. The snow may affect driving conditions on U.S. Route 101 north of Willits, or around Rattlesnake Pass, and even on the Ridgewood Grade between Willits and Ukiah. SR-20 between Willits and the coast may also see some snowfall.
The mountain passes of Humboldt and Trinity counties will likely see major traffic issues. Light snow is even expected in the hills above the 253 and above the Anderson Valley.
UPDATE 6:00 p.m. — The National Weather Service is predicting a major snowfall in the Sierra Nevada and substantial snowfall at higher elevation in the Coastal Range, so expect mountain passes to be closed or dangerous.
A winter storm watch remains in place through 11 p.m. Sunday in North Coast areas above 2500 feet in elevation.
A winter storm warning remains in effect from 5 AM Saturday to 11 PM Sunday for elevations above 2500 feet across Trinity, interior Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, northeast Mendocino County, and northern Lake County. pic.twitter.com/YadYOzPgeF— NWS Eureka (@NWSEureka) March 14, 2020
‼️Heads up! The heaviest snowfall is still to come with this storm!— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) March 14, 2020
❄️An additional 2-5 FEET of snow is expected over the Sierra through tomorrow night. Snowfall rates of 2-4 inches per HOUR are likely!
🛑Please stay off mountain roads if you can! #CAwx pic.twitter.com/i7UE03ji4c
Thunderstorms are possible across interior #NorCal tomorrow. Heavy rainfall, small accumulating hail, gusty winds, & frequent lighting are the main threat with these storms. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/X2ePV7HNRs— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) March 14, 2020
UKIAH, 3/14/20 — After suffering through the direst February in the over 100 years since accurate records began to be kept, Northern California is finally getting some relief, in the form of a slow moving and cold storm that will pass through the area this week. Expect a few inches of rain, perhaps as many as five in some places, and snow as low as 2,500 feet in elevation.
So get ready for some rainy weather to go with all the self-quarantining and social distancing that people are engaging in as the pandemic crisis mounts across the country. And the National Weather Service recommends staying off mountain passes for the snow storm — it’s even possible that the hills around Ukiah, Willits and Laytonville will see some snow.
This is a welcome break from the highly unusual rain year we’ve experienced so far — with a dry fall, dry January, and a historically dry Feb. As can been seen on the map below, much of Northern California, including Mendocino, experienced the driest February since at least 1885, with the rest of the state experiencing an extremely, though not record-breaking, dry streak. For a more detailed analysis of weather patterns and how climate change is altering them, we always recommend meteorologist Daniel Swain’s Weather West Blog. The Weather West Blog is consistently the best source for valuable insights, and easy to read information on California’s weather.
However, this week of precipitation that’s due to douse the dreary dryness of our dour dales will not likely meet the mark of a “miracle March.” Or as Swain puts it:
Right now, it appears that an unsettled pattern similar to the one described above will persist for the rest of March, given the projected position of the upstream blocking high pressure system southwest of Alaska. As a result, I would expect some modest recovery of seasonal precipitation deficits in many spots, although NorCal will still remain well behind seasonal norms both in terms of total precipitation and accumulated snowpack. Therefore, unless the forecast shifts toward much moister systems heading into April, I would seriously hesitate to call this a “Miracle March.” Still, the widespread precipitation and cool weather expected statewide over the next 10+ days is decidedly good news–and I think it’s be fair to call it a “March Mitigation,” at least.Weather West
You can see below in this tweet, some more details about the specific rainfall records in San Francisco, which has older records than Mendocino County.