Storm to Bring More Rain, and Possible Heavy Snow, to Drought-Stricken California
California is in the grips of one of its worst droughts in decades. And the Golden State has been more earthen brown as of late; due to major precipitation deficits in recent years. Adding insult to injury, Californians dealt with a raging wildfires that scorched thousands of acres and lowered water tables to record levels. The lack of groundwater also presented a major threat to the state’s agricultural industry.
Over the weekend, some places in California received as much two and a half inches of rain. Most of the heavier amounts were along the northern and central California coast.
The rain was also heavy enough in Southern California to cause a mudslide in Vertura County. The slide swallowed part of the idyllic Pacific Coast Highway — the famous roadway remains closed in this area.
And even with recent rains, more than 55 percent of California remains in the “exceptional drought” category — the highest on the rating scale from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Worse yet, more than 94 percent of the state is classified as “severe drought.”
While the impending system may not have a huge impact on the overall state of the drought, it will have a significant effect in the short-term.
So what can Californians expect in the coming days?
Well, starting early Tuesday rain will being moving onshore south of the Bay Area. Cities like San Franciso, Monterey and Redding will likely see showers staring a few hours after midnight.
A steady rain will continue for much of northern California throughout the day, on Tuesday. By the afternoon hours precip will staring falling along the coastal regions of central and Southern California. Forecast models indicate moderate-to-heavy rain could begin to fall from Los Angeles to Oceanside Tuesday afternoon as well.
Rain is likely to continue across the state, through the end of Wednesday and some of the totals could be substantial. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches aren’t out of the question for many parts northern and central California. Higher amounts — in excess of four inches of rain — are possible for the interior sections of northern California as well.
Similar amounts are also expected along coastal regions of Southern California.
Some of the rain will fall in areas that were ravaged by wildfires and mudslides could occur. Residents — especially in the foothills of Southern California — should remain weather-aware and monitor forecasts frequently.
Another concern will be snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well. Forecast models and National Weather Service discussions are pointing to huge snow totals in the higher elevations. Above 7,000 feet snows in excess of two feet are likely. This is great news for snow skiers in and around Lake Tahoe, but bad news for people trying to drive I-80 through Donner Pass. If you have plans to go through there in the next couple of days, you may want to consider revising your planes.
The forecast is subject to change in the coming days and WeatherNation meteorologists will be keeping a close eye on it for you.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond