Accurate forecast: February 4, 2024
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A storm arrived Sunday with high winds, just like we saw with the atmospheric river event that came through Kern County last week.
A wind advisory is in effect for much of the valley, with winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts up to 45 mph, until 10 p.m. tonight. Winds will be fastest across the southern mountains in Tehachapi and Fraser Park, with sustained winds of 20-30 mph and gusts of 60-80 mph. These winds will be slow to fade overnight, so with the rain and snow, this will likely cause limited visibility, especially in the mountains.
While we’re talking about this precipitation, some forecasts call for an inch or more of rain in the valley, but the dry southeast winds cause a lot of evaporation and promote the infamous rain shadow. As a result, I expect Bakersfield will have to wait a little longer for the cold front to sweep in from the north overnight.
However, the weather Monday and Tuesday still looks very wet, with between a half inch and three-quarters of an inch of rain expected. In areas where thunderstorms develop, there will be locally heavy rain, with the possibility of small hail, erratic winds, and dangerous cloud lightning. In areas where rainfall is greater, localized flooding is expected, just as we saw last Thursday. With all this rain and already saturated soil levels, mudslides are possible in the mountains with rockslides occurring in the Kern River Valley. There is also the potential for dangerous flash flooding along the slopes and in the Cairn Desert.
Higher elevations have a much better chance of seeing that inch or more of rain, with the snow line starting at 6,000 feet on Monday and dropping to 5,000 feet on Tuesday. This is above the pass level, but a slushy mix is possible on Interstate 58 and I-5. As for our highest elevations, locations above 6,000 feet will see 3-6 inches of snow on Monday with another 3-6 inches of snow on Tuesday, giving Alta Sierra Ski Resort the opportunity to get a foot or more of fresh powder! Further north, some ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada are seeing 6 to 8 feet of snow forecast!
Looking ahead, as the low pressure system driving this atmospheric river event slowly moves north, we will have a continued chance of seeing showers Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The long-range forecast shows high pressure building up this weekend, and with clear, calm skies we should see dense fog developing in the valley.