Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: Shaun Tanner , 7:24 AM GMT on December 21, 2012
Before I get into the latest craziness that the atmospheric models are predicting for the next few days, I wanted to give you a chance to watch this cool video we have produced. We have gone through nearly a year's worth of satellite images using the WunderMap and animated them to form a great nearly 4 minute video. That is one satellite image per hour for nearly an entire year for a total of around 8,500 satellite images. We also slowed down the animation to show some of Dr. Jeff Masters' top 10 weather events of 2012. We hope you enjoy it enough to spread it around to your friends and family. I know I have watched it over and over again because I am a dork and it is hypnotizing.
West Coast Storm Door Opens
The West Coast is set for a tremendously active next 3-4 days. Satellite imagery shows a large low pressure system spinning well off the Pacific Northwest coast. The slow eastward movement of this low pressure system will allow three smaller and very wet storms to swing counterclockwise around the main storm and slam into California.
Winter Storm Warnings are posted for the Sierra Nevadas and hills of Northern California in anticipation of the most snow the mountains have seen in quite some time. A reading of the warning itself is quite startling.
* Snow accumulations early Saturday through Sunday evening: over 2
feet above 7000 feet with 1 to 2 feet in the Tahoe basin. The
highest total accumulations will occur along and west of Highway
89 and near Mount Rose where 3 to 5 feet is possible.
This is for the period Friday through early Monday. Thus, the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevadas can expect up to 5 feet(!) of snow through Monday.
In addition the Central Valley can expect 2-4 inches of rain through Monday.
As with the previous storm train to hit Northern California early this month, the excess rainfall falling in the hills of Northern California north of the San Francisco Bay Area could produce some flooding along the normally flood-prone Russian and Navarro Rivers.
All of this active weather will produce dangerous driving conditions for Holiday travelers. The main arteries over the Sierras, Interstate 80 and Highway 50, are likely to experience chain controls and potential closures. If you are planning to travel in the higher elevations of California, anticipate delays.
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