Northern California Gets Light Rain and Snow

A weak storm system moved through Northern California on Tuesday and a stronger system was expected in the drought-stricken state during the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

Meteorologists reported that Sierra Nevada elevations above 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) received 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 centimeters) of snow, and chains were required on Interstate 80 through the morning.

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab said rain unexpectedly turned to snow.

The Sun May Offer Key to Predicting El Niño, Groundbreaking Study Finds

When it comes to long-term hurricane forecasts, tornado predictions in the Plains or prospects for winter rain in California, you’ll often hear meteorologists refer to El Niño or La Niña. They’re phases in a cycle that starts in the tropics, spreading an influence across the globe and shaping weather both close to home and on different continents.

Now there’s emerging research to suggest that cosmic rays, or positively charged, high-energy particles from space, might be the mechanism that flips the switch between phases. Cosmic rays come from outside our solar system, but the number and intensity that reach Earth hinge on the magnetic field of the sun.

Here’s How Much Snow is Typical During the Second Half of Winter

The halfway point of meteorological winter is Friday, Jan. 15, and while that might seem like the light at the end of the tunnel for those tired of snow and cold, many cities still average more than half their season’s snowfall after this date.

Winter in meteorological record-keeping is from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28. But for some parts of the nation, snowy conditions are still possible deep into March and even April.