COLD STORM ON FRIDAY BRINGS RAIN AND SNOW
A long anticipated cold front will be moving into Kern County first thing on Friday morning. This comes after yet another day of dense morning fog on Thursday with low visibilities around the South Valley- down to 200 feet in some spots. There is a slight chance locally dense fog could develop Thursday evening, but as the cold front arrives fog will not be a problem.
Rain is expected to spread southeast beginning about 4 AM and persisting into the morning hours. The first part of a two part weather system will deliver up to a third of an inch of rain, although many spots in the south valley will see less than a tenth of an inch. Rain should taper off by mid-day with some partial clearing. Then, the second installment of this disturbance is forecast to bring showery weather with lower snow levels. Part two engages Friday evening through Saturday morning.
A Winter Weather Advisory is posted for the Kern County mountains valid from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Snow level will begin around 6,000' Friday morning, falling to around 4,000' by early Friday afternoon. The moisture will temporarily cut off late afternoon after about an inch of snow will have fallen on the major passes. It may not be a big problem initially since the weather has been very mild in mountain areas. In fact, Tehachapi hit 72° on Thursday and Lake Isabella 73°. But with the second part of this event coming to Kern County by Friday evening, snow levels will fall to around 3,000'.
My forecast is for 1-2" at 3,500' and 2-6" above 4,500'. That should pose a serious travel dilemma on the Grapevine and over Tehachapi Pass late Friday evening and Saturday morning. Skies will clear by Saturday afternoon as upslope snow finally ends and the storm system moves east and away. Winds should also be a problem, with gusts to about 60 MPH in the mountains and desert areas late Friday through early Saturday.
Much colder air will overspread our region. Morning lows on Sunday in the South Valley will drop into the low to mid 30s with the threat for a frost. Skies will remain partly cloudy on Sunday. Mountain towns will see lows in the teens and 20s. A fast moving weak disturbance will fly over California on Monday with little chance for any rainfall. Our next shot for rain comes on Wednesday and Thursday with a powerful northwesterly jet stream diving over the state. Models are predicting valley rain and mountain snow again. It may become quite windy too.
Be sure to be prepared if traveling in mountainous terrain Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Check to see if the passes have been closed or if the CHP is pacing cars. In any event, get ready for winter driving and allow plenty of extra time to get over the Grapevine if headed to LA.
Chief Meteorologist MILES MUZIO- January 18, 2018 6:57 PM
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