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Update: Blizzard Warning For The Mother Lode

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The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for the Mother Lode and the western slope of the northern Sierra Nevada, from 4 AM Thursday until 10 AM Sunday. Additionally, a Blizzard Warning has been issued for the upper elevations of Yosemite National Park, from 4 PM Thursday until 10 AM Sunday. Finally, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect for the Yosemite National Park Valley floor and the Sierra Nevada of Mariposa County, from 4 AM Saturday until 10 AM Sunday.

The snow levels will initially start out around 5,000 to 6,000 feet on Thursday, before lowering to 4,000 to 5,000 feet on Friday, and then down to around 2,000 feet by Saturday.

The blizzard conditions are expected from Friday into Saturday morning when the snowfall is likely to be the heaviest. The snow rates will range from two to four inches per hour, at times.

There may be minor snow accumulations at the 2,000 foot elevation. Half-a-foot of snow is likely above 2,500 feet. One to four feet of snow is forecast above 4,000 feet. Four to twelve feet of snow is expected above 6,000 feet. The higher you go, the more the snow.

Winds could gust as high as thirty-five to seventy-five mph, especially on exposed ridgetops and along the crest. Widespread blowing snow will create blizzard conditions, with white-out conditions and near zero visibility. Very strong winds, combined with a heavy snow load could cause extensive tree damage and extended power outages. Wind chills as low as fifteen to twenty below zero can be expected.

Expect extremely dangerous to impossible travel conditions from Thursday into Saturday morning, with extended road closures likely. Delay travel plans, if at all possible. Travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. The kit should include an extra flashlight, food, and water. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.