Stormy week ahead for Auburn with heavy rain, gusty winds

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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Winter’s rains have been sparse so far, but a pair of strong storms barreling into California this week will bring a good soaking. The National Weather Service in Sacramento is calling for as much as 6 to 8 inches of rain for the Auburn area from Tuesday through the weekend, lead forecaster Jim Mathews said Monday. The first system was on track to arrive just after midnight, bringing winds and steady rain through Wednesday night. “We’re looking at 3 to 4 inches for Auburn,” he said. “And then from Thursday through Saturday night, another 3 to 4 inches.” Wind gusts of 30 to 35 mph are likely through Wednesday but temperatures will remain mild — in the 50s. Warmer air coming in with the storm will cause snow levels to rise from about 4,000 to 5,000 feet early Tuesday, up to 6,000 to 7,000 feet Wednesday and Thursday, with accumulations of two to three feet at the summit, Mathews said. However, the second — colder — storm will drop temperatures into the 40s for the weekend in Auburn, with snow levels possibly dropping to the foothills. The Sierra will get another 2 to 3 feet of snow on the second round. Although total precipitation will be high, there’s little risk of significant flooding. “The soil is quite dry,” he said. “We’re not expecting any major river flooding. Maybe toward the weekend … there could be typical minor flooding in low-lying areas and some rivers and smaller streams by then.” Once the second storm passes through, the outlook is for a drier pattern early next week. “But it is tentative how long it could last,” Mathews said. Sierra ski resorts are still basking in recent storms that filled in bare spots and are looking forward to adding to snow packs. It couldn’t be better timing for Homewood Mountain Resort, which is planning a St. Patty’s Day Twilight Ski from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. The resort is fully open and “looking forward to the additional snow,” spokeswoman Nicole Engelhardt said. Boreal Mountain Resort was reporting a base of 50 to 80 inches, with 3 to 5 inches of new snow Monday evening, according to its website. Homewood had a 51-inch base. As of Monday, the Auburn area had received .16 of an inch of rain in the past 10 days and 11.18 inches for the season, which began on July 1, as recorded at the Auburn Municipal Airport. Reach Gloria Young at