A low pressure system heading south from the Gulf of Alaska will bring rain to the San Joaquin Valley and snow as low as 2,000 feet in the foothills.
Temperatures will drop steadily starting Thursday when highs will be in the upper 60s to low 70s and lows in the mid 40s. Early morning fog is expected and partial cloud cover throughout the day.
Those clouds will increase by Friday with rain expected for Friday evening, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Angus Barkhuff.
The rain and snow will persist throughout the weekend with highs in the high 50s and lows in the mid 40s in Modesto.
Dodge Ridge Ski Area is expecting three feet of snow over the weekend and could open as early as next week, according to creative director Jeff Hauff. The early open date would be an improvement over last year, when the resort opened Dec. 11.
Bear Valley Mountain Resort is tentatively scheduled to open Dec. 17, but the date could be moved up if the storm deliver plenty of fresh powder.
When the cloud cover lifts Monday, daytime highs should stay fairly consistent but nighttime lows will drop to near freezing temperatures.
Barkhuff said the temperatures are slightly below normal for this time of year but the low snow elevations are unusual.