Mountain Area residents who live at elevations above 4,000 feet should prepare for a “White Christmas,” meteorologists with the National Weather Service’s Hanford office said Thursday afternoon, as a storm from Friday into Christmas Eve on Saturday could leave several inches of snow on the ground.
As a result, a winter storm warning was issued for the Sierra Nevada mountains above 4,000 feet, from Yosemite National Park to Kings Canyon, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday. That warning continues for 24 hours, where winds could reach between 15 to 25 mph and heavy snows or rain could make some roads difficult or impossible for travel, and potentially cause some power outages.
Starting at about 10 a.m. Friday, meteorologist Bill Peterson said a storm moving into the mountains from the northwest is expected to drop up to an inch of rain in Oakhurst and surrounding areas until around noon, then pick back up in the afternoon with similar strength.
Into the nighttime hours, Peterson said a cold front would “sneak in behind the storm” and cause snowfall at elevations above 4,000 feet, though some dustings are forecast as low as 2,400 feet.
At elevations above 6,000 feet is where the brunt of the snow is expected, Peterson said, with as much as three feet of snow in certain areas.
“The front will move through and high pressure will move in, which means a clear sky and a crisp morning,” Peterson said. “For those with snowfall in their area on Friday and Saturday, they’ll wake up to a ‘White Christmas.’”
Temperatures on Friday are forecast at a high of 51 in Oakhurst, 39 in Fish Camp, and 43 in Bass Lake. Lows are forecast at 34, 25, and 30 degrees in those respective areas that day.
On Saturday, when the cold front moves in, Peterson said forecasts in Oakhurst were a high of 44 degrees and low of 23, far below freezing temperatures. Temperatures are then forecast to rise into next week, with highs in the mid to high 40s and lows in the mid 30s.
For updating forecasts in the Mountain Area, click here.
For the National Weather Service’s winter storm warning, click here.