The Mother Lode could see a break from the warm, dry spell with rain and snow in the forecast late this week, but more spring-like weather is expected to follow.
The storm will roll into the area on Thursday morning and continue through Friday, dropping about 0.25 inch of rain in the Sierra foothills and 2 to 5 inches of snow in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow levels are anticipated to begin around 4,000 feet on Thursday and could drop to around 2,000 feet on Friday, meteorologist Stefanie Henry said.
Thursday has the greatest chance of precipitation, with a 30 percent chance of rain after 4 a.m. and 60 percent after 10 a.m. Thursday night has a 50 percent chance of rain.
The storm will bring cooler temperatures across the Mother Lode, with highs decreasing from 60 on Tuesday to the upper 40s Thursday through Saturday. Overnight lows could drop into the upper 20s Friday and Saturday.
The winter weather follows a recent spike in temperatures and lack of precipitation, which Henry attributed to a high-pressure system lingering over California. She said storms have difficulty pushing through high-pressure systems.
The Weather Service expects the wintery stint to be followed by gradually increasing temperatures and dry conditions.
“It’s going to be a relatively weak system, but it will be nice to have some of that rain,” Henry said.
Dodge Ridge Wintersports Area and Bear Valley Mountain Resort are looking forward to fresh powder, but said the slopes have been great despite the absence of winter weather.
“We have good coverage from the storms we had early on,” Bear Valley Marketing Manager Rosie Sundell said. “The conditions are surprisingly nice.”
She said a clear sky is the ideal condition for people to learn to ski and snowboard, and beginners have been taking advantage by scheduling lessons.
Amber Jenquin, director of marketing and sales for Dodge Ridge, said the mountain has more than 3 feet at its base, and the cold nights have helped maintain it.
“This season overall has been very successful,” she said.