Storm surge could drop 3 inches of rain

Auburn braces for wettest storm of the season — so far
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal
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The wettest storm of the season so far is due to hit Auburn hardest this evening, pounding the city and surrounding foothills with up to three inches of rain by Friday.

The National Weather Service was basing its forecast on models that showed a cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska combining with a warmer, wetter system to the south to produce rain and mountain snow over Northern California.

Meteorologist Tom Dang of the weather bureau’s Sacramento office said Tuesday that precipitation totals are anticipated to range from 1.5 to 3 inches in the Auburn area.

“It should be the wettest of the year so far but that doesn’t mean that it will be the strongest of the season,” Dang said.

The heaviest rain in Auburn should start this evening and rain should continue to pour down through early Thursday morning. Further precipitation should be “hit-or-miss, off-and-on” through the rest of Friday, with a chance for a dry-out before another round of rain expected Sunday evening, Dang said.

With more snow in the mountains, Caltrans is warning motorists to prepare and prepare some more for driving in the white stuff. The chief advice for travelers motoring over Donner Summit is to check weather and road conditions before setting out, said Liza Whitmore, Caltrans spokeswoman.

“It’s frustrating when people are coming close to the summit and they tell us they didn’t know they needed chains,” Whitmore said. “Or drivers arriving with a quarter of a tank of gas or less and then waiting for traffic to move.”

Those weather checks should be taking place through April because of the strong possibility of snow between now and then, she said.