A potent ‘atmospheric river’ approaching California on Tuesday morning is making a “chaotic forecast” for meteorologists with the Nationwide Climate Service in Reno who’re working to find out impacts from the storm, together with snow ranges.

Zach Tolby, a meteorologist with the climate service, mentioned the forecast has been tough as a result of climate scientists are coping with two storms merging into one.

“There’s a bunch of heat, subtropical moisture coming into California and the Sierra,” Tolby mentioned Tuesday morning. “On the similar time, chilly air is dropping in from the Gulf of Alaska. With these two issues assembly someplace round Central California, it’s creating lots of challenges.

“Is one going to push the opposite away? Is heat moisture going to dominate? It’s creating lots of challenges for precipitation quantities and snow ranges.”

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Monday afternoon, the climate service in Reno was nonetheless working to challenge snow ranges from the storm, which is pulling in hotter tropical moisture from the Pacific Ocean. At one level Monday, meteorologists mentioned snow ranges within the Sierra Nevada might rise as excessive as 8,000 toes.

Tuesday morning, the climate service forecast snow ranges to start out Tuesday afternoon round 4,000 toes however rise to someplace between 6,000 to six,500 toes.

“Areas north of Interstate 80 will lag behind and won’t improve above 6,000 toes till late
Wednesday evening,” the climate service wrote in its Tuesday forecast. “By Thursday, all areas will typically be above 7000 toes.”

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On the highest elevations, 2 to five toes of latest snow is anticipated, in response to the climate service.

“It’s going to be a heavy, moist snow,” mentioned Jim Wallmann, a meteorologist with the climate service in Reno.

Whereas rain is anticipated at decrease elevations, meteorologists mentioned the current accumulation of snow is able to absorbing many of the rain “given its capability to carry water at the moment.”

The snow that has fallen lately is “chilly and dry and it will likely be in a position to take up the moisture,” Tolby mentioned.

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Main rivers within the space are anticipated to rise however not strategy flood ranges because of Wednesday and Thursday rains, the climate service mentioned.

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