A very cold and unstable air mass is moving across Northern California. Forecasters say it's a mixed bag with on-and-off rain and even some possible thunder and hail. A Winter Storm Warning remains in place for the Sierra through tomorrow morning.
More snow is expected on top of the already impressive amounts accumulated over the last 48 hours. Kirkwood received a whopping 44-inches of snow, Heavenly had 31-inches, while Boreal and Kingvale both recorded 29-inches. Rain chances across the valley will continue through tomorrow night.
A snowboarder who was reported missing Thursday night has been found dead at Squaw Valley Ski Resoirt.
42-year-old Rocklin resident Wenyu Zhang was reported missing around 9 p.m. last night. Squaw Valley officials say Zhang last scanned a late-season season pass at the base of the Squaw Creek chair.
A Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue crew searched overnight, but had to stop due to an avalanche risk in the area.
Early this afternoon, the Placer Sheriff announced that Zhang had been found dead. Authorities say they were able to narrow the search area using a tracker program at the resort.
Ski operations at Squaw Valley are on hold due to the search. Guests are instead being directed to ski at Alpine Meadows for the time being.
THURSDAY 11:15 A.M.
Today's winter storm is expected to bring heavy snow to the Sierra. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the Tahoe region that began at 8 o'clock this morning with near white-out conditions expected through Friday morning.
Heading up to the mountains is being strongly discouraged right now just because of the safety factor. An avalanche warning has been issued for the Sierra back country.
Click here for a live look at Sacramento's weather radar.
Some people living near the recent deadly mudslide in Santa Barbara County are now under mandatory evacuation orders.
Officials with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office say anyone living near burn areas needs to leave due to the major winter storm hitting the area later today. Forecasters believe the storm will not be as big as the one that hit last month, which triggered a massive mudslide in the Montecito area, but authorities don't want to take any chances.
WEDNESDAY 1:30 P.M.
The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Warning kicks-in at 10:00 tonight and will continue through Saturday morning.
There is also an Avalanche Watch for the Central Sierra back country. The watch is in place from 7:00 tonight through 10:00 Saturday morning.
The affected area is between Highway 49 at Yuba Pass and Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass. The greater Lake Tahoe area is also included. Forecasters say heavy snow combined with wind could result in dangerous and widespread avalanches.
Forecasters think the storm system expected to hit Northern California over the next few days will be just right.
A meteorologist at "The Weather Channel" is calling it a "Goldilocks system." bringing significant rain in the valleys and snow in the Sierra, but not enough to cause widespread flooding and mudslides.
However, the National Weather Service is warning of high winds at the mountain peaks, with potential gusts as high as 100-miles-an-hour.
It's the first sizeable storm in more than a month and one of the few since the rain season began last October.
Two to three inches of rain could fall in the Sacramento area and three to five feet of snow in the Sierra.
PROJECTED RAIN TOTALS THROUGH 7 P.M. THURSDAY:
- Placerville: 2.2 inches
- Sacramento: 1.88 inches
- Auburn: 1.58 inches
- Sonora: 1.55 inches
- Yuba City: 1.52 inches
- Stockton: 1.26 inches
- San Francisco: 1.2 inches
- Fairfield: 1.05 inches
- Modesto: .69 inch