By Brian Lada – AccuWeather
Drenching rain will spread over California on Tuesday, bringing some relief to the ongoing drought and raising the risk of flash flooding.
While a series of storms have brought rain to parts of northern and central California over the past few weeks, Tuesday’s storm will bring the first significant rain event for Southern California since the spring.
Some rain moved over part of the state on Sunday ahead of this week’s storm, giving a preview of what is to come.
Part of the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California was closed on Sunday afternoon due to multiple rockslides, according to Mike Lindbery, public information officer for the Ventury County Fire Department. Several cars were blocked in, but the passengers were able to get out with no reported injuries according to Lindbery.
Events similar to this are likely to occur on Tuesday and Wednesday as the storm ushers a plethora of moisture rich air across the state.
According to the Associated Press, residents in foothill cities northeast of Los Angeles placed sandbags in the days leading up to the storm to protect properties from rain and flooding.
Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno could all receive over an inch of rain from this storm with some locations receiving 4 inches by Wednesday night. The greatest amount of rain will fall on the west- and southwest-facing slopes of the coastal ranges.
The heaviest rain is expected to reach coastal Southern California on Tuesday. The rain will continue Tuesday night, before tapering to showers on Wednesday.
The rain will come down hard enough to cause isolated urban and flash flooding, as well as raise the risk of mudslides. The risk of mudslides will be greatest in recent wildfire burn areas.
Dependent on where the mudslides occur, they can block roadways forcing motorists to find alternate routes to reach their destination.
Snow levels will lower as the storm progresses, but will remain above the passes in Southern California and will barely reach Donner Pass along Interstate-80.
Spotty, less-intense rain will spill well inland, reaching the desert areas of Palm Springs, California and Las Vegas.
During the beginning of the rain, the combination of moisture and oil buildup on roads can make for very slick conditions. Motorists are cautioned to allow extra stopping time at intersections and distance between vehicles while moving at highway speeds.
Travel disruptions are possible on both Tuesday and Wednesday with rain reducing visibility for drivers and causing delays at the airports.
While this single rain event will likely have a small impact on the long-term drought, it will have a higher impact in the short term.
Many cities across California have only received a fraction of the rainfall that they typically see during the month of November.
|City||Rainfall in November||Percent of Normal|
Rainfall totals are for the month of November through Nov. 28.
This storm could turn out to produce the biggest rain event in Los Angeles since the end of February when a system dumped over 4 inches on the city.
It will take much more rain and high country snow than this storm can produce to alleviate the long-term drought conditions.
Fortunately, this part of the country is beginning to enter their rainy season, meaning that there is a greater change for more storms like this one than have been seen over the past several months.
Drier conditions are forecast to return to much of California by Thursday, making for better conditions for those looking to spend time in the outdoors.
However, a few showers may linger around over northern California and along the state’s coast as the storm tracks across the Plains.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.