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Series of Storms to Drench California This Week

forecast rain

A series of storm systems are set to deliver heavy rain and mountain snow to drought-stricken California this week.

Multiple systems moving in from the Pacific Ocean starting Sunday will bring consistent rain and snow to California, with as many as four rounds of precipitation set to bring beneficial moisture to the region.

After mostly light rain showers in far northern California on Saturday, San Francisco and the Bay Area will see rain work in on Sunday night, and on-and-off again rain will be in the picture likely through Thursday, when as much as 2-4 inches of rain could douse the city. Los Angeles will likely see less rainfall, perhaps 1-2″ by the end of the week, starting on Monday morning.

The Sierra Nevada mountains, particularly at 6,000′ and above, will see several more inches of snow on top of what has already been an auspicious start to the snow season, with some areas again piling up feet of snowfall by the end of the week, likely heaviest in the central and northern parts of the Sierras.

January is typically Los Angeles’ second-rainiest month of the year, with almost three inches of rainfall typically during the month, or about 20 percent of the city’s average annual rainfall. In 2015, however, Los Angeles received less than six inches of rain, less than half of its typical 12.82″ of average annual precipitation. San Francisco (8.44″ to 20.65″ on average) saw a similarly massive deficit.

Drought relief has long been in the cards for as a result of the warming of the central Pacific Ocean known as El Niño, which typically brings California extra rainfall as a result of a strengthened subtropical jet stream. However, so far in the 2015-16 rainy season for the West, it’s been mostly far northern California and the Sierra Nevada mountains that have felt the heavy rain and snow. As of Saturday, California’s statewide year-to-date snowpack was 105 percent of average, a good sign after snow levels in the 2014-15 winter were often 10 percent or less of normal levels.

Stay with WeatherNation as potentially drought-easing rain and snow moves into the West.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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