SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The second storm of the week was headed toward Northern California on Tuesday and more systems were lined up behind it, with potential to bring a long fire season to an end in that part of the drought-stricken state.
Rain was expected to spread over the region during the evening and overnight, bringing light accumulations of snow across the northern Sierra Nevada crest, the National Weather Service said.
The week’s first storm moved through Sunday night, bringing enough snow to shut down highways over the Sierra’s higher passes and require chains for vehicles on Interstate 80. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab at Donner Pass reported 10.3 inches (26.1 centimeters) of snow by 8 a.m. Monday.
“That was a pretty wild ride for the first real storm of the year,” the California Highway Patrol’s Truckee office tweeted.
Measurable precipitation — 0.01 inch (0.03 centimeter) — Sunday evening in downtown Sacramento ended 212 consecutive days of no rain at that location, the National Weather Service said.
Light rain was expected to continue Wednesday, followed by “progressively wetter systems” Thursday and Friday, and then more precipitation over the weekend and into next week, the Sacramento weather office said.
By the end of the weekend, the Northern California region could see totals of 4-8 inches of rain. For reference, Sacramento has recorded 4.57 inches of rain in all of 2021.
If this forecast verifies, it could bring an end to fire season in Northern California. Ending fire season early would be a relief, considering the trend of fire seasons extending further into fall and winter.
After last winter’s paltry rain and snowfall, California wildfires have scorched more than 3,898 square miles (10,096 square kilometers) and destroyed thousands of homes, businesses and other structures this year, mostly in the north.