The first band of what officials predict will be the most powerful storm in a decade moved into Northern California on Saturday, with officials warning of widespread flooding and epic snowfall. “People are definitely in a state of panic right now,” said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Hammitt. “We’re getting a lot of calls asking if we’re going to be able to deal with everything. It’s the general pandemonium of not knowing what’s coming.”

Up to 12 inches of rain is expected below 8,500 feet, and massive amounts of snow — up to 6 feet — above that elevation across the Sierra Nevada. A colder storm two days behind is expected to more heavy snow. The rain moved in late Friday and continued into Saturday morning, with the most powerful punch expected later in the day. “We’re expecting heavy, heavy rain. It starts out as snow then turns to rain then turns to snow again,” Hammitt said. “We’re concerned about the melt increasing waterways and all the lakes.” READ MORE