Rare winter storm watch issued for Chico, Greater Northern Sacramento Valley


A snowplow works to clear HWY 267 near Lake Tahoe, CA. Jan. 9, 2023, photo by Michael Steinberg.

The National Weather Service Sacramento issued a historically rare winter storm watch Tuesday morning for Chico, along with the Central and Northern Sacramento Valley. The watch will take place from 4 p.m. Thursday until 3 p.m. Friday. 

Total snow accumulations of 1 to 4 inches is possible, with up to 6 inches along the western foothills. Light amounts of dusting to an inch of snow is possible over the central portions of the valley. 

Meanwhile in the Foothills and Sierra’s to the east, winter storm warnings are in effect until Saturday morning. The warning includes Paradise and Forest Ranch.

  • 1 to 3 feet of snow is forecast between 3,000 and 5,000 feet 
  • 1 to 2 feet of snow between 1,500 and 3,000 
  • 2 to 8 inches between 1,000 and 1,500 feet is also likely 

There are concerns about widespread damage and power outages due to heavy snow in Foothill communities, as many are not prepared to withstand heavy accumulating snow with gusty winds. Weather service Sacramento is urging people who live in Foothill communities to prepare for the storm. That includes having a plan for power outages, buying food, water and other necessary supplies, along with staying up-to-date with weather forecasts. 

Tree damage due to heavy snow entering Grass Valley, CA. Dec. 27th, 2021, photo by Michael Steinberg.

Over a year ago, Foothill communities like Grass Valley, Meadow Vista and Colfax suffered from extensive tree damage and power outages. Some homeowners were out of power for more than two weeks. 

The pattern for cold, wet storms appears to be in lock for the foreseeable future.

Another significant winter storm is expected to impact the region the following Monday through Tuesday. Widespread mountain snow is forecast with heavy valley rain as well. 

Michael Steinberg can be reached at [email protected] or 

@MichaelWX18 on Twitter.