Offshore storm to send more chilly rain, heavy mountain snow to California

Another storm will take aim at California through Sunday and threaten to cause more travel issues after a previous storm carrying rain and heavy mountain snow affected a large part of the state during the middle of last week.

Central and Northern California will bear the brunt of this new storm, but some rain could even make it as far south as the Los Angeles area as the storm joins up with an existing flow of moisture coming in off the Pacific Ocean, AccuWeather forecasters say.

The storm first brushed the Pacific Northwest coast into Friday night before sinking south along the coast for the weekend.

"Storms that tend to hover just off the Pacific coast, rather than push steadily inland, can be a bit tricky to forecast," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. "However, it seems this storm will hover close enough to funnel a significant amount of moisture toward California."


Rain spread across the northwestern coast, San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley regions Saturday, while the Klamath and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges started to endure another round of heavy snow after feet of snow fell earlier in the week.

By Saturday night and Sunday, the precipitation will be at its heaviest, slowing travel over a large portion of the state. At this point in time, AccuWeather meteorologists expect the rain to make it into parts of Southern California. Rain should reach Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties by Sunday morning, before shifting closer to downtown Los Angeles by the afternoon hours, according to the latest forecasts.

"Exactly where the bands of heaviest precipitation will set up is not set in stone, but beneath those bands of rain and mountain snow, heavy rates are possible with the potential for localized flooding and debris flows, as well as travel-snarling snow in the Sierra Nevada," added Sosnowski.

Rainfall will total 0.5 of an inch to 1 inch in some areas, especially the central and northwest coasts, as well as the foothills of the Sierra. Farther up in elevation, above 4,500 feet, fresh snowfall totals will range from 1 to 3 feet. Travel through the passes will be extremely difficult for a time, including on Interstate 80 at Donner Pass.

Forecasters say the storm won't be all bad news, as any precipitation is welcomed because of the long-term ongoing drought in the Golden State. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor released on Thursday morning, 100 percent of the state is at least abnormally dry, with nearly 85 percent of the state categorized to be enduring severe drought or worse.

In the wake of the storm, lingering atmospheric energy will allow showers to linger into Monday and Tuesday before yet another storm approaches from the Northwest in the mid- to late-week period. After that, there are signs that a building ridge of high pressure could finally lead to a prolonged, drier period beginning around next weekend.

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