California is already facing heavy rain, strong winds and flooding with a major storm expected to hit late Wednesday. Now there's a blizzard warning.
The warning will be in effect from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. Friday. The weather service said residents could expect whiteout conditions, which could lead to roadway closures lasting several hours.
Ten to 20 inches of snow could accumulate in communities above 6,000 feet. The northern Sierra crest could get 2 to 3 feet of snow, with the heaviest snowfall Thursday night. The strongest winds are expected Wednesday night and Thursday. Forecasters say the area will have 20 to 25 mph winds with gusts of 80 mph of higher.
Snow levels are expected to drop to 4,500 to 5,500 feet on Thursday night and Friday morning.
In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the cold storm should bring 1 to 2 inches of rain along the coast and 2 to 4 inches in the mountains and foothills Thursday night into early Friday, meteorologist Scott Sukup said.
"It will be a pretty significant rainfall event for us," he said.
Periods of moderate to heavy rain could last up to six hours, increasing the risk of debris flows in communities recently scorched by wildfires. By Friday morning, most of the heavy rain is expected to diminish.
Wind gusts could reach up to 40 mph along the coast and more than 60 mph in the mountains, making driving conditions hazardous for vehicles with taller profiles, such as trucks.