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Update: Winter Storm Watch Issued For The Mother Lode

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The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Mother Lode and the western slope of the northern Sierra Nevada, from early Thursday through Sunday morning. A Winter Storm Watch has also been issued for the upper elevations of Yosemite National Park, from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning. Additionally, a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the Yosemite National Park Valley floor and the lower Sierra Nevada of Mariposa County, from Saturday morning until Sunday morning.

Extremely heavy snow and strong winds are in the forecast. The heaviest snow is expected on Friday.

The snow levels will initially start out on Thursday around 5,000 to 6,000 feet, before dropping down to 2,000 feet by the weekend.

Light snow accumulations are possible at 2,000 feet. Half-a-foot to one foot of snow accumulation is likely above 2,500 feet. One to four feet of snow is expected above 4,000 feet. Two to nine feet of total snow accumulation is forecast above the 5,000 foot elevation. The higher you go, the more the snow.

Winds could gust as high as fifty-five to sixty-five mph, especially on exposed ridgetops and along the crest. Gusty winds could significantly reduce visibility and bring near whiteout conditions. Strong winds could also cause tree damage as well as power outages. The cold wind chills as low as twenty-five below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Travel is not advised. Delay travel plans, if possible.

A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet, or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

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