This is a developing situation and information may change. We’ll update this article as more information becomes available. The most recent information will be updated at the top of the article, with the earlier reports below.
Editor’s note: For the most current storm coverage for March 4, 2023, read our article here.
3/3/23 3:30 p.m. — National Weather Service Eureka (NWS Eureka) has issued a winter storm advisory for the entire Mendocino Coast from 4 a.m. Saturday, Mar. 4 through 4 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 5. NWS Eureka forecasts that the coast can see hail, sleet and wet snow accumulating up to one inch near sea level and that “travel could be very difficult.” Please see below for our prior forecast, including further information on what can be expected inland.
MENDOCINO Co., 3/3/23 – Another round of winter storms arrive this weekend in Mendocino County. Starting late Friday night, the county can expect more snow, rain and wind, which will bring treacherous road conditions and more power outages, mainly inland and in higher elevations.
The National Weather Service Eureka (NWS Eureka) has issued a winter storm warning from 4 a.m. Saturday, Mar. 4, through 4 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 5 for the interior of Mendocino County, including Leggett, Laytonville, Willits, and Round Valley. NWS Eureka forecasts that between Saturday and Sunday elevations over 2,000 ft. could see 1.5 to 2.5 feet of snow, areas located between 1,000 and 2,000 feet can expect 2 to 10 inches of wet snow and trace amounts of snow under 1,000 feet. Snow is expected to be the heaviest on Saturday. Gusty winds will also make an appearance on Saturday, with ridgetops seeing between 30 to 40 mph wind gusts.
What is wet snow? According to meteorologist Eric DeRoche wet snow is snow that partially melts before it reaches the surface. “This causes the snowflakes to become sticky and easily adhere to and accumulate on nearly all outdoor surfaces,” says DeRoche. Wet snow is very photogenic, however it’s heavier than “dry” snow, which means downed trees, power outages, and structural damage, including roof collapses, are possible.
After the warning expires on Sunday afternoon, light snow, or a mix of rain and snow, may continue through Monday.
NWS Eureka anticipates that U.S. Route 101 will likely be “nearly impossible” to travel on highway passes, meaning the Ridgewood Grade and locations further north of Willits will likely see treacherous conditions.
The coast is spared a winter storm warning, but rain will blanket the coastal region on Saturday. Sunday afternoon may bring thunderstorms. Rain will continue on the coast through Monday.
Conditions may vary widely across North Coast microclimates, and on your travel routes, so we’ve included a list of useful resources below to keep you updated. You can check for the specific forecast for your neighborhood and on current road conditions as they develop.
Information is changing rapidly, and we’ll keep you updated on current conditions throughout the next several days. Although local agencies are preparing for the storm, emergency resources are likely to be stretched thin — if you can avoid travel, please stay off the roads for everyone’s safety.
Finally, be sure to bookmark our winter weather information guide. There are additional resources included at the bottom of the article so you can check the exact conditions in your area. Stay safe out there!
Mendocino Voice Winter weather resources:
- Our guide for winter weather emergency and preparedness info — we recommend you bookmark this
- Check your specific forecast at this link along with the National Weather Service advisories and warnings, as well as their Facebook page and their Twitter page
- Check the CalTrans QuickMap for current road closures or call 1-800-GAS-ROAD
- Check for current accidents at the CHP traffic update page
- Caltrans traffic cameras can be seen here, and here are the PG&E cameras
- You can also check out the Weather Underground to look for weather stations in your area
- Check the PG&E current outage map to find or report power outages
- NWS has flood stage predictions here; and you can find USGS current streamflow information here
- NWS is seeking snowfall reports, and you can submit them to this website.
- We recommend meteorologist Daniel Swain’s Weather West Blog as a good place to find more in-depth current weather analysis
Sarah Stierch covers wildfires, breaking news, and more for The Mendocino Voice. You can follow Stierch on Twitter and learn more about her work and donate to her directly at here. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.