La Niña is bringing winter storms to California this week. If you’re in California, the storm system could delay any holiday travel you have planned. Heavy snow is expected for the mountains, and rain will be seen everywhere else.
According to the National Weather Service, Northern California can expect to see one to five feet of snow. Higher elevations could see up to eight feet of snow. Snowfall and accumulation will occur between Tuesday and Sunday of this week. Per the NWS, anyone traveling in the mountains should be extra careful because of the storms. Travel is expected to be difficult. Interstate 5 north of Redding, California experienced some closures last week due to the weather. The same area could be affected this week as well.
Whiteout conditions could occur. Gusty winds will make issues worse. To prepare for whiteouts, pack extra food and water, warm clothes, and chains.
For those in Southern California, rain and high-elevation snow is expected through the weekend.
The Los Angeles weather office says that there are signs that an atmospheric river has formed. They can tell by water vapor imagery that was seen over the Pacific. They take water from the Pacific and turn it into rain and snow for the west coast.
La Niña Storm System Might Stick Around
Back in October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that they were seeing signs of a new La Niña. La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, but both change the weather around the globe. NOAA is expecting La Niña to stick around until early next year. The storm system should be in place until February. It’s expected to be stronger starting in January. Last year, La Niña lasted from August to April.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center deputy director, Mike Halpert, stated “La Niña also influences weather across the country during the winter, and it will influence our upcoming temperature and precipitation outlooks.” The east coast might see a lot of snow from the storm system, and the west coast will have milder weather.
Halpert also talked about the creation of La Niña this year. Since these storm systems usually cause global changes in weather, La Niña was here during hurricane season. This is partly why we had such an active hurricane season. “Our scientists have been tracking the potential development of a La Niña since this summer, and it was a factor in the above-normal hurricane season forecast, which we have seen unfold,” Halpert said.
This year is interesting because we usually don’t see La Niña every year. Typically, we see it every few years. Scientists don’t know if La Niñas are caused by El Niños, but usually, we see a La Niña a few years after an El Niño.