The West Coast's foul weather comes as the predominant pattern over the past month and a half shifts from one where storms are more likely in the East to one where storms are more likely along the West Coast. On Wednesday, one of these West Coast storms will stick around, aiming its precipitation squarely at California. The San Francisco Bay Area will see some very heavy precipitation, as will the Sierra Nevada mountains, especially the area around Lake Tahoe. Since this storm is expected to be quite cold, snow levels will drop to around 2500 feet then even lower overnight. In the higher elevations, one to two feet of snow could fall by daybreak, with an additional one and a half feet possible during the day Wednesday. This storm marks an important turning point for the region, as nearly a month and a half of well below normal snowfall will finally begin to turn around.
In the Northeast, temperatures will moderate substantially Wednesday, with highs rising well above Tuesday's bone chillingly cold readings. Most locations will reach at least the freezing mark.
Elsewhere, the Plains will remain relatively warm, with south winds drawing moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico. This moisture will increase cloud cover and allow for the possibility of some showers in the Midwest.
Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Tuesday ranged from a morning low of -18 degrees at Mt. Washington, N.H., to a high of 86 degrees at El Monte, Calif.
Weather Underground: http://www.wunderground.com
National Weather Service: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov