COLD STORM OVERNIGHT- PASSES THREATENED
The long advertised cold storm has begun. Rain developed around 4 PM on Wednesday afternoon. Mountain towns should be ready for another blast of snow, in this colder and wetter than average February. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the Kern County mountains through 4 PM on Thursday. Specifically, 1-3" snowfall is forecast above 2,000', 3-6" above 4,500' and finally 5-10" above 5,500'. This will challenge traffic over the major passes. Expect a closure either on the Grapevine, Tehachapi pass or both at some point overnight. The potential for snow on the passes will persist well into Thursday. Additionally, shower activity in Kern County may also involve an isolated thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon. Rainfall totals in the South Valley will be light, only .05-.20".
Once the current cold storm passes through by late Thursday, weather conditions statewide will begin to improve. Cold weather stays in place for a few more days, however. A Freeze WATCH is posted for the South Valley Friday morning and may well also include Saturday morning. But by Sunday a decidedly new weather pattern will take hold.
Highs on Thursday in Bakersfield should only be around 50. That will set a new low maximum temperature record (the old record 54 set in 1975). Meantime it should not escape freezing in the mountains, all day. The cold and unstable air mass could also produced an isolated thunderstorm in which some small hail pelts the valley. You will remember last Sunday when thunderstorms dotted the South Valley. This will be the final cold storm of its type.
Beginning over the weekend a fundamental shift in the northern hemispheric weather pattern will develop. Deep low pressure in the western states will break and a zonal (west to east) flow will form. That will take both the cold and the wet weather away. Following Thursday's precipitation I don't expect any more rain or snow in central California for the remainder of February. Temperatures will still be cold at night through Saturday morning, but gradual day-to-day moderation is predicted and highs in the 60s will greet South Valley resident by Sunday. Warming next week will bring highs into the low 70s by Thursday and Friday. March should come in like a lamb.
After a break from the constant rain and cold, March will bring in a resumption of wet weather. Showers are possible by about Saturday the 2nd of March. The rest of March will likely be wet, but not nearly as cold as it has been.
Chief Meteorologist MILES MUZIO- February 20, 2019 7:20 PM
Today's Record Temperatures