Thanksgiving travelers will face snow-blanketed roadways in Northern California

Thanksgiving travelers will face snow-blanketed roadways in Northern California
Snow collects on the trees along U.S. 50 in El Dorado County on Nov. 10 east of Sacramento. The Sierra Nevada received up to 16 inches of snow on Tuesday. (Randall Benton / Associated Press)

If you’re headed for Northern California for Thanksgiving, don’t get snowed under. Snow levels are expected to drop Wednesday below 3,000 feet in the mountains and foothills.

As a cold Pacific storm continues to move toward the Sierra Nevada, the snow line will plunge and temperatures will become increasingly chilly.


“A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring,” the National Weather Service in Sacramento said in a statement. “Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel difficult.”

The same storm blanketed the Sierra and surrounding communities with snow Tuesday and caused chaos on the roadways.

The Kirkwood Mountain Resort received up to 16 inches of snow, much to the delight of skiers and snowboarders. Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe resort and Donner Pass got 10 inches of snow, the weather service said.

"Mother Nature is giving us the blessing of big snow this Thanksgiving," resort spokesman Kevin "Coop" Cooper said on Facebook. "Some people hunker down when weather moves in and some head to Kirkwood."

Along the California coast, unusually high tides, or "king tides," continued to pound the shore. The highest tides are expected Wednesday and Thursday. The weather service has predicted that tides could rise to 7.8 feet in Santa Monica, 7.4 feet at the Santa Barbara Harbor and 7.3 feet at Port San Luis.

"King tides give us a preview of the future, because the highest tides of today will become the mean water levels of the future as sea levels rise," the California King Tides Project said.

Forecasters have warned that king tides and strong onshore winds could lead to minor flooding in low-lying areas along the coast.

The high tides caused flooding Tuesday in the Midway District along the San Diego coast.

Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties received light rain overnight as the low system moved to the central coast. Snow levels will be low Wednesday, but forecasters say snow is unlikely to accumulate.

Temperatures, however, will be chilly, staying in the 60s for most of the day.

Thanksgiving will be partly cloudy and cold, with maximum temperatures eight to 10 degrees below normal.

As for weather conditions for the weekend and early next week, forecasters are stumped and can't tell whether it will be wet or dry.

"The extended forecast is simply a mess," said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.


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