New weather pattern on deck in California

A drier weather pattern will settle in for California coming days. However, the transition will still come with its own host of hazards as AccuWeather meteorologists say bouts of gusty winds will impact Southern California through the week.

The change in the weather pattern across the western U.S. will come on the heels of a storm the dove southward across the region on Sunday.

This storm first approached the coast of California on Saturday before pushing a wave of heavier precipitation inland. While the storm started to unload a significant amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada, coastal California and lower elevations were hit with waves of rain.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Heather Zehr noted that rainfall totals of 1-2 inches were observed in coastal ranges near and north of San Francisco as well as in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. San Francisco measured 1.29 inches over the last few days while Sacramento, California received 0.56 inches.

A significant amount of the storm's moisture was wrung out in the form of snow, and AccuWeather meteorologists warned that motorists over Donner Pass along Interstate 80 should expect snow-covered roads. Snowfall reports coming in show that a general 1-2 feet of snow piled up across the Sierra Nevadas.

The storm even brought a shower to Southern California, with rain being reported at Los Angeles International Airport during the morning on Sunday.


The Pacific Northwest will continue to be the focal point for rounds of rain and mountain snow into the middle of the week. In California, however, dry and windy conditions are expected to move in early this week, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

An area of high pressure will set up overhead throughout the week, promoting dry conditions across the state, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.

This set-up will initiate an offshore wind in Southern California into Tuesday.

AccuWeather experts say there will be wind gusts of 50-70 mph from the California Desserts to the coast. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 85 mph is not out of the question, especially in the higher elevations.

Ahead of the gusty conditions, residents are advised to secure any loose outdoor items. Localized power outages and travel delays may also occur.

The wildfire risk will be nearly nonexistent during the event as a result of abnormally wet soil conditions following the onslaught of storms in January. The atmospheric river that brought extensive moisture to the region last month prompted flood emergencies for some and brought a record-setting snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The storms from December to the first half of January have already had a tremendous impact on the long-term drought in California. In a matter of weeks, the two highest categories of drought -- extreme and exceptional -- completely disappeared, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Many reservoirs in the state had water levels close to or above their average levels for early February, and that represents a tremendous boost from extremely low levels at the start of the winter.

As long as periodic storms, even of average nature, continue in the region through the end of the wet season, the snowpack and reservoir levels will be largely preserved and may climb even higher.

AccuWeather's long-range team says it may take until the upcoming weekend for the next storm to arrive in California, bringing the return of rain and mountain snow. Until then, residents are likely to welcome the pattern change that will bring more opportunities to get outdoors following the waves of heavy rainfall to end 2022 and start 2023.

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