Local News

Wednesday, Dec 26 2012 05:27 PM

Holiday travellers could see fog, rain, snow

BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

The upside of all the rain lately is that Bakersfield rainfall is below normal for this time of year, and the area desperately needs the water.

The downside is that holiday travellers may get caught in it.

Temperatures are forecast to hover in the low- to mid-50s over the next four days, and there's a slight chance of rain and snow again Saturday through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The Grapevine is expected to be OK, but there could be snow as low as 4,000 feet in the Tehachapis.

Walker Pass on Highway 178 was closed for a few hours on Tuesday because three to four inches of snow fell there overnight.

A wind advisory was in effect in the Kern County mountains Wednesday night, and those winds were likely to "remain gusty" in the Grapevine and Tehachapis Thursday morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Modesto Vasquez.

There could be some patchy, dense fog in the southern Central Valley on Friday morning, he added, "so drivers should use caution."

Bakersfield has seen .75 inches of rain since July 1, compared with 1.89 inches of rain for this time of year in a normal year.

The state Department of Water Resources has approved 1,251,721 acre-feet of water for delivery to people and entities with long-term water supply contracts in 2013, according to the state's most recent notification. That's 30 percent of State Water Project contractors' requests.

That number is generally tweaked as the rainy season progresses and is likely to change, as it's still early in the season.

That said, on Wednesday the state announced that thanks to early season storms, Wednesday's Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack water content was 146 percent of normal for the date.

Water runoff form the melting snowpack normally provides about a third of the water for California households.

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