Numerous weather watches and warnings are in effect for today for Southern California, where flooding and mudslides remain a threat as a result of showers and thunderstorms over rain-soaked terrain. The thunderstorms will be accompanied by downpours, hail and damaging winds.
Heavy snow and high wind will continue in the mountains. Travel into and over the mountains will remain difficult.
The most intense precipitation will end by tonight, but not before adding to what's been an exceptionally stormy month. In just the past week, 5 to 20 inches of precipitation has fallen in a large portion of central and Southern California. That has translated to more than 16 feet of snow in some of the ski resorts of the high Sierra.
(Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
The good news for Southern California is that the most intense effects of the next round of storms will be felt in areas farther to the north.
Heavy rain and mountain snow will fall in Northern California from Saturday night through Sunday, with only moderate precipitation moving through the southern part of the state.
The storm track will shift farther to the north for the middle and latter part of next week, keeping most of the precipitation out of Southern California. Rain and mountain snow will fall in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, where the risk of flooding and mudslides will increase.
During the second round of storms, some of the higher elevations of Northern California and southern Oregon are likely to receive 10 to 20 inches of rain in the lower elevations, with many feet of new snow over the mountains.
In a typical La Nina year, the predominant storm track is directed into the Pacific Northwest, where rain and snowfall amounts are generally higher than average. Storms are generally less frequent than normal in Southern California and the Desert Southwest.
However, with intense storms not far to the north, only a southward shift of the storm track, even for a short time, can result in intense rainfall in Southern California and the Desert Southwest.