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Big Storm Coming To California — And Could Dump 7 Feet Of Snow In High Sierra

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

A sudden hail storm leaves the appearance of falling snow, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

A major storm system is heading toward California. It's expected to bring heavy snow to the Sierra Nevada and widespread rain in the Sacramento Valley.

Winter storm warnings and advisories for the Sierra are in effect through Saturday morning.

Courtney Obergfell with the National Weather Service in Sacramento said it "will be the most significant storm we've seen so far this season."

She says we could get up to two feet of snow in some foothill locations and up to seven feet over the high Sierra.

Snow levels will lower to about 1,500 feet by Friday. A blizzard warning will be in effect along much of the eastern flank of the Sierra starting at midmorning tomorrow.

"It's going to be a fluffier, lighter snow and so we are expecting issues with blowing snow, as well," Obergfell said. "That can cause whiteout conditions at times."

Obergfell is encouraging people who have to travel in the mountains to wait until Sunday. She says there will be some breaks in the storm, with lighter snow falling during the day Friday and Saturday.

"But if it's snowing from 2,000 feet up," warns Obergfell, "that's going to be a very long stretch of highway to get cleared. And so we can't really assume that road conditions are going to be any better, even if it's not snowing as heavy."

The Sacramento area could get a couple of inches of rain by Saturday. It'll also be windy with gusts up to 40 mph on Thursday. 

The storm will be moving south tomorrow night — and that's prompted an evacuation warning for parts of Santa Barbara County. The storm is expected to rain heavily enough to cause mudslides in the fire-scarred foothill area where mudslides killed more than 20 people in January.

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