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First storm of 2020 brings snow, rain to North Coast

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Snow coated parts of the North Bay on Thursday morning, marking the first major snowfall of the new year.

The storm dropped three to four inches of snow in parts of the lower elevations of Mendocino and Lake counties, meteorologists for the National Weather Service said. While there were no reports of snowfall in Sonoma County, the storm brought heavy rain — up to one-half inch — to the county, said meteorologist Anna Schneider at the weather service’s Monterey station, which oversees the area.

“(It’s) definitely the most significant snow of the year,” said Ryan Aylward, a meteorologist for the weather service’s Eureka station, which oversees Mendocino County. “There’s been nothing like this storm.”

Aylward said the last major snowfall in the region was in February 2018. That storm even dropped measurable snow on Petaluma for the first time in about eight years.

The inclement weather conditions Thursday caused some traffic problems on North Bay roads. In Mendocino County, CHP responded to four crashes throughout the day, though none caused major injuries, Officer Olegario Marin said. He also received reports of eight cars that got stuck on the road because of the snow.

“When we get weather like this, try to slow down,” Marin advised drivers. “Take all the precautions when driving.”

In Sonoma County, Schneider said there had been many reports of roads flooding because of the rain. Santa Rosa police responded to at least five reported collisions across the city — all related to rain, Sgt. Summer Gloeckner said. Thankfully, she said, no one sustained major injuries.

The storm was fairly short-lived. By Thursday evening, snow flurries had stopped, and meteorologists expected the weekend to remain fairly dry. Any snow that might fall over the next few days would likely only be in elevated areas, such as mountains, said Cory Mueller, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Sacramento station, which oversees Lake County.

“This is kind of the end,” Aylward said. “There could be a shower or something lingering, but overall, everything is kind of winding down.”

In Sonoma County, the weekend will be fairly dry, but rain might start to fall again early next week, Schneider said.

Staff Writer Yousef Baig contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Chantelle Lee at 707-521-5337 or chantelle.lee@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ChantelleHLee.

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