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Pacific Satellite/Radar composite Thursday afternoon. Notice the very pronounced Atmospheric River flow starting just north of the Hawaiian Islands.

It will likely be very challenging getting across the mountains this weekend. An Atmospheric River storm will hit the region Friday with potential heavy rain and snow above 8,500’, and high winds that could gust to over 60 mph in the valley. Valley rainfall will vary depending on how close you are to the mountains, with the west side receiving significantly more than the eastern side. Snow levels will begin to drop Friday night into Saturday, falling to about 6,000’ by Saturday morning, and then falling farther to the valley floors by late Saturday. The timing of the snow level drops is still a bit uncertain, so amounts that we might get here in the valley is equally uncertain (a couple of inches is possible by Sunday), but the mountains should get significant rain and then snow through Sunday. Total amounts in the highest elevations should be measured in feet as opposed to inches, and depending on the timing of the colder air, Lake Tahoe could get a foot or more before it is all said and done. The high winds will also combine to make travel across the passes very tough Saturday into Sunday, and a mountain Winter Storm Warning has been posted starting late Friday as a result.

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