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Weather for everyone!

Although I have not experienced a bad ice storm like the one that struck New England since I lived in Wisconsin, California has some interesting weather of its own.

Tonight, for example, we in the Bay Area are expected to have snow down to 1000-1500 feet. If it is at 1000 feet, there will be snow on the Altamont Pass portion of Interstate 580. However, in Southern California, a flash flood warning has been issued! A voluntary evacuation order goes into effect at 9 PM PST for Orange County areas that were affected by fires earlier in the season, including Brush Canyon, Box Canyon, and North Fairmont/San Antonio areas.

There is currently a cold storm, like the ones that we normally receive in February, sweeping California. Usually this type of storm does not have much precipitation associated with it, since the the storm comes from the Arctic. However, the precipitation totals have been increased for the storm that should hit Southern California at about midnight tonight. A flash flood warning has been issued for the Los Angeles Basin and winter storm warnings have been issued for the surrounding mountains. Rainfall totals through Monday are expected to range from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches, with twice that amount in the mountains. Snow levels in Southern California are supposed to be around 4500 feet, dipping to as low as 3500 feet on northern and interior slopes. Snow at 3500 feet would affect portions of Interstate 5 over the “Grapevine.”  (Grapevine Hill is mentioned in the song “Hot Rod Lincoln.”) Snow in the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties is expected to average 12-18 inches, and winds of 25-35 miles/hour, with gusts of 50-60 miles/hour, are expected.

As you can tell, the variety of environments and microclimates in California can also make for an interesting mix of weather.

(Note added December 15, 2008: This afternoon, there was snow on the Ohlone Wilderness south of Livermore. When the thick snow cloud that still enveloped Mount Diablo shifted slightly, snow was visible at mid-elevations on the mountain.)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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