Local News

Wednesday, Dec 12 2012 07:00 AM

Storm expected today; winter advisory set for mountains

BY REBECCA KHEEL Californian staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

It might be time to break out the skis and snowboards.

The mountain areas of Kern County are expecting up to 6 inches of snow today through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Lower elevations in the Central Valley will see a drop in temperatures and rain.

In Bakersfield, today will bring an 80 percent chance of rain. The heaviest rainfall is expected in the afternoon and evening. The high is forecast at 62 degrees, with the low at 40 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain will let up throughout tonight but continue Thursday, with a 40 percent chance. The high is expected to be 55 degrees and the low 36 degrees.

In the mountain areas, including Tehachapi, Frazier Park, the Grapevine and the Tehachapi Pass, the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory starting at 4 p.m. today and continuing until 4 p.m. Thursday.

On the Grapevine and Tehachapi Pass, 1 to 2 inches of snow are possible. Higher elevations may get 3 to 6 inches.

The National Weather Service warned that strong winds may cause drifting snow, resulting in reduced visibility. In higher elevations, winds are expected to blow at about 40 miles per hour.

For lodging in the mountain areas, snow means customers looking to have winter fun.

At the Old Bear Bed and Breakfast in Pine Mountain Club, more families usually come when it snows than when it doesn't, said David Stenstrom, innkeeper. Nobody wants to come when it's cold and there's no snow, he said.

"Right now we're as dry as can be," he said Tuesday afternoon.

Diana Chase, owner of the Pine Mountain Inn, said that as long as the roads don't close, people come up to play in the snow or see it for the first time.

Snow this weekend would be especially fortuitous, she said, as the village is having a Christmas celebration.

"Hopefully, it's lovely," Chase said.

With the expected snow, Caltrans warned motorists to drive safely in winter conditions. Some tips are to fill up on gas before you leave; use headlights in foggy, rainy and snowy weather; make sure tires are in good condition; carry chains even in four-wheel drive vehicles; and drive slowly.

To check road conditions before you leave, visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov, call 511 or visit go511.com.

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