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Speculated travel trouble as California faces week of storms

rain-allied-gardens.jpg
Erik Anderson / KPBS
Rain is seen on a window in the Allied Gardens neighborhood of San Diego County, Calif. Dec. 14, 2021.

California is facing a stormy holiday week, with heavy mountain snowfall and widespread rain elsewhere, forecasters said Monday.

Successive waves of precipitation moving into Northern California from Tuesday through Sunday afternoon will coat parts of the Sierra Nevada with 1 to 5 feet (0.3-1.5 meters) of snow and possibly up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) at some higher elevations, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters said the storms will bring potential for significant low-elevation snow, including over Interstate 5 north of Redding, an area where last week’s storms shut down the highway for nearly 24 hours.

Little break in snowfall is expected after Tuesday, and major travel difficulties are anticipated the mountains, the weather service said.

“Gusty winds will further reduce visibilities during this event with local whiteout conditions possible,” forecasters said. “Holiday travelers should prepare for winter driving conditions by packing chains, warm winter clothes, and extra food and water.”

The wet weather pattern will begin to affect Southern California Tuesday night and bring rain and high-elevation snow through Thursday, followed by unsettled and showery weather through the weekend.

The Los Angeles weather office said water vapor imagery over the Pacific shows an atmospheric river developing as moisture streams from an area east of Hawaii.