Rainless streaks weeks or months in the making may fall this week as a big shift in the weather pattern unfolds in California and the Southwest.
Slow-moving low pressure, still well off shore as of Sunday, could serve up some weather surprises as it begins sparking widely separated showers and thunderstorms as early as Tuesday.
To be clear, odds for any widespread soaking rain are very low, as this weather system will begin with limited stores of moisture.
The offshore low will take a track to the east and southeast, ending up near the Southern California coast by Thursday.
Monday, little in the way of rain will fall, as the low will still be over open water off northern California.
Tuesday, as the weather system drifts nearer to the coast, scattered showers will begin to be sparked in the west, and a few thunderstorms along and near the Sierra Nevada.
Wednesday and Thursday, the low will gain access to moisture from northwestern Mexico. Showers and thunderstorms are likely to increase at this time over the southern half of the state, throughout the Sierra Nevada and into Nevada.
Furthermore, scattered thunderstorms may break out eastward to Utah and northern Arizona on Thursday.
Notwithstanding limitations to rain-generating moisture, this low pressure area will have enough vigor to gin up a few strong thunderstorms with localized downpours, powerful wind gusts, even hail, Wednesday and Thursday.
For most Californians, it would be the first rain to speak of since late spring or early summer.
No measurable rain has fallen in downtown Los Angeles since July 12, for instance. San Franciscans have to look back to June 4 to find the last measurable rain. In Fresno, one most go all the way back to April, as the 26th was the date of the last rain of significance here.
Dry, even rainless, summers the rule in most of California, which has a "Mediterranean" climate.
Although the far north can turn rainy in October, most of California normally has to wait until November for the season's first widespread rainstorms.
Tropical Depression Eight could become a tropical storm while brushing the North Carolina coast with rough surf, downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms into midweek.
Tropical Depression Nine developed just south of Florida on Sunday and will turn toward the northeastern Gulf Coast of the United States later this week.
Two tropical systems, Madeline and Lester, could pose hazards to Hawaii from the middle of the week into Labor Day weekend.
Though the summer season is winding down, forecasters are predicting a warm start to fall across the Northeast — a weather pattern that could spell bad news for fall foliage lovers.
The worst thing that people who live along coastlines can do is not to prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes.
Raleigh, NC (1965)
46 degrees -- coldest ever in August.
Three inches of snow fell in parts of the state; record lows were set in 31 northeastern U.S. cities and towns.
West Virginia (1989)
Lightning sets numerous house and trailer fires. Firefighters could not keep up with all the fires that were burning.