Two major Northern California storms are expected to hit Wednesday through the weekend

Two significant winter storms are headed for the Sacramento region.

The first arrives late Wednesday night with up to two inches of valley precipitation, as well as up to two feet of snow in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada. You can expect snow in smaller amounts starting at about 3,500 feet along with strong winds.

“Our first winter storm will arrive late Wednesday night … and continue with widespread impacts, including valley rain and heavy mountain snow through Thursday and into Friday morning,” said Chelsea Peters of the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

Local governments in the Sacramento region have announced plans to open warming centers and distribute motel vouchers in an effort to shelter homeless residents during the storm.

The Sierra Avalanche Center also issued an avalanche warning Thursday through Friday morning.

“It’s not going to be a fun ride if you’re traveling in the Sierra along any mountain passes,” Peters said.

After a brief break during the day Friday, a second storm is expected Friday night into Sunday, with similar amounts of rain, snow and impact on mountain travel.

Peters also said winds will be a big part of both storms.

“Downhill, up to 30 to 40 miles per hour, potentially. And up in the mountains, gusts up to 45 to even 65 miles per hour,” she said.

In total, this could mean up to four inches of precipitation in the valleys and four feet of snow in the highest elevations of the Sierra. On Tuesday afternoon, the Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Wednesday night into Friday morning.

Travel in the Sierra from Wednesday night through the weekend is likely to be hazardous and should be avoided.

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