After being left out of the fall storms that dumped some significant moisture in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Sierra Nevada region, it appears that the prevailing pattern for the rest of 2016 will be on-again-off again for periods of snow and rain in the southern Sierra. That storminess that arrived in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, Dec. 8, dumped nearly a half-inch of rain in Three Rivers and up to a foot of snow in the higher elevations of the nearby mountains.
California’s northern Sierra region, home to some of the state’s largest reservoirs, experienced its wettest October and November since 1984, the National Weather Service reported earlier this week. High country weather stations up north received an average of 18 inches of precipitation, or about 200 percent above the average for these two months of the water year.
Eric Kurth, stationed in Sacramento with the NWS, said usually when there is a wet start there is a wet ending too. The lone exception was 1984-1985, which also happens to be the last time there was this much early-season precipitation in the Sierra Nevada.
Conversely, Southern California remains dry and mired in a sixth year of drought. The southern Sierra Nevada region that includes Kaweah Country currently has about 88 percent of its average fall precipitation, thanks mostly to the last two storms. The year-to-date precipitation for Three Rivers is about 3.25 inches, depending on elevation, and more rain and snow is predicted for as early as this weekend.
The current pattern of storms is cold from top to bottom. On Thursday, Dec. 8, low-lying Portland, Ore., received an uncommon several inches of snow.
Kaweah Country can expect the cold, wet weather to continue with daytime highs in the upper 50s and nighttime lows dipping down into the 30s.