Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Snowy powder coated Moro Rock (elevation 6,725 feet) when the clouds cleared on Saturday morning, Feb.  24.

It's up to March to provide a winter's worth of weather

John Elliott


After three consecutive months that may turn out to be the driest and warmest on record for winter, California weather has taken a turn for the wetter. The 2017-2018 rainy season, one of extremes in both cold and warm, has been anything but normal for California. 
The season so far has been one of the driest on record over much of Southern California. In fact, February 19 marked an entire calendar year (365 days) without a single day of significant rainfall of more than .33 inches in Los Angeles.
Until February, California had endured one of its warmest starts to winter ever. Summer-like temperatures baked coastal areas in early February and left inland areas like Kaweah Country high and dry. As of February 17, the nearby national parks had received less than a foot of snow for the entire season.
Before the current round of storms, season-to-date precipitation stood at less than 50 percent of average for most of California. But in the last 10 days, winter finally arrived in California. 
Its leading edge brought drastically colder temperatures; February records for cold were recorded from Fresno to Bakersfield. The cold wave was made that much more striking by the fact that it followed record high temperatures.
In the last week of February, unsettled conditions brought some scattered showers to the foothills and at least a foot of new snow to the higher elevations. But the air currents aloft were so cold that the new snow was dry powder and barely registered any water content whatsoever.  
In fact, as of February 23, Sierra Nevada snowfall was tied with 2014-2015 and 1976-1977 for the least snow on record for this time in the season. The polar vortex has now split so the entire Northern Hemisphere is in for some wild and much wetter weather, at least for the next week or so.
Widespread rain and heavy snowfall are imminent across nearly all of California. Snow levels will drop below 2,000 feet over the weekend, just like they did earlier this week. 
This weekend’s storm series is expected to bring up to two inches of rainfall, and Alta Peak, (11,000 feet) could receive more than three feet of new snow. 
As of February 28, Three Rivers had recorded 4.64 inches of rainfall.