Low pressure tracking towards the West Coast from the Pacific has brought increasing clouds into our Wednesday forecast. The clouds have helped to act as a blanket to trap in the heat, and that is resulting in much milder temperatures than 24 hours ago. Valley areas are starting out in the 40's, foothill areas are in the 30's to low 40's, and mountain areas are in the 20's to 30's for the start of your St. Patrick's Day. Clouds will continue to increase through the day, and we'll be mostly cloudy this afternoon. We are expected to stay dry today despite the increase in clouds. High temperatures will be similar to what we had on Tuesday. Valley areas will top out in the upper 50's to lower 60's, foothill areas will end up in the upper 40's to mid 50's, and mountain areas will end up in the mid 40's to mid 50's this afternoon.
The wet system that is bringing the increase in clouds on Wednesday will bring rain and snow back into our forecast on Thursday. A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for northern Trinity County areas down to 4000' from 2am through 11pm Thursday. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the northern Sierra down to 4500' from Thursday morning through midnight Friday. Up to around a foot of snow looks possible down to 4500', with up to 2 feet of snow possible along our highest peaks. Snow levels will be down into the 3500' to 4000' range on Thursday, and will dip into the 2000' to 3000' range on Friday. The heaviest rain and snow is projected to fall on Thursday afternoon and night. Rain and snow will turn to lighter showers on Friday, and some areas may not even get more wet weather for the last day of the work week. There will also be a slight threat of thunderstorms in our region on Friday afternoon. Mountain travel impacts are likely from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning.Temperatures will start out as warm if not a little warmer than today on Thursday morning, but high temperatures are mostly expected to drop by around 5 degrees. Friday will be warmer than Thursday, but only by around 2 to 3 degrees.
Valley areas are expected to stay dry for your first day of the Spring Season on Saturday, but mountain showers are projected to linger. Most mountain showers will continue to be very light. Temperatures will warm back into the lower 60's in the valley on Saturday, and will then climb into the mid 60's on Sunday. Foothill and mountain areas will likely have high temperatures ranging from the mid 40's to mid 50's through this weekend. We'll be exclusively dry on Sunday, but the next wet system will take aim at northern Californai on Monday. The latest models are showing mostly mountain showers from this system, with only a slight chance for valley rain early next week. Dry and warmer weather is expected from Tuesday on in next week's forecast.