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Weekend Storm Review and the Week Ahead

February 10, 2014; 1:53 PM

The storm in northern California was everything that I expected it would be and encouraging, though with reservations on how it has helped the drought. In central California, there was not as much rain as farther north, but that was expected. However, it was good to have, though the help on the drought was more limited. In Southern California, the storm did everything I expected which means it did only enough to tamp down the dust in places and was absolutely no help for the drought.

Meanwhile in the Northwest, major snow and ice from late last week into the weekend brought some impressive snow amounts then equally as impressive ice on top. All this made travel extremely tough. It took until today for temperatures to rise above freezing in some spots, and even as of late afternoon Monday, there are pockets of below-freezing temperatures that may not get eroded until late tonight and tomorrow.

Back down to California. Here is a rainfall map from the NWS office in Sacramento with total rain and melted snow from last Wednesday through this morning.

These amounts caused some flooding of streams and low-lying spots, areas that typically see that happening during major winter storms. However, this winter, this is the first time we have seen a series of storms of this magnitude.

So how did this help the water situation? Reservoir levels through this morning are not in as of this posting. Obviously, there will be rises, but the bigger the reservoir, like Oroville and Shasta, the smaller the rise will be compared to smaller reservoirs like Folsom Lake. As of yesterday, Folson did record a rise of 9 percent, but that only puts it to 41 percent of the historical average.

Below are maps showing the percent of normal water in the snow pack in the Sierra. The first map is from Feb. 5; the second is from Feb. 10.

The central Sierra has the biggest rise with the southern Sierra the lowest. The average for the entire Sierra is up 13 percent to 28 percent of what is normal for this time of year. That is still extremely low. It will take a lot more snow to bring any kind of significant relief.

The rest of this week will offer no more rain or snow for much of California. Yes, there could be a little rain near the Oregon border at times, but not far enough south to help. If you live along the south-central coast or west of the mountains in Southern California, it is really going to warm up. Temperatures will rise well into the 70s tomorrow across Southern California with upper 70s to middle 80s likely Thursday through Saturday.

The Northwest will have a more normal weather pattern the rest of the week. The leftover cold pockets will be scoured out tonight and tomorrow morning, then it's a mild southwest flow aloft with periods of rain through the weekend. The two strongest storms will be Tuesday night into Wednesday and again Thursday night into Friday. These storms will bring some pretty good wind along with the rain. With all the snow and ice of recent and mild, rainy weather coming, there are some problems that are going to arise. There is likely to be local flooding occur from snow/ice melting and initially blocking drainage, and then also from the smaller streams and creeks rising due to the snowmelt and rainfall combining.

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The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Ken Clark
Ken Clark's Western U.S. weather blog tackles daily weather events with commentary from one of the most experienced and trusted Western U.S. weather experts.