California Rain Brings Both Relief, Flooding

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
February 28, 2014; 6:49 PM ET
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Another round of rain is moving into California to close out the week, bringing further relief from the extreme drought gripping much of the Golden State. However, the storm will cause some problems as well.

This rain began to move in Thursday night, right on the heels of the storm that brought rain to parts of the state on Wednesday. This second storm will have some differences though, including a heavier rain that will span across the entire state.

Downtown Los Angeles had the first calendar day with an inch or more of rain on Thursday since October of 2011.

As beneficial as this rain will be, it does pose some dangers, particularly to those living in Southern California.

Storm clouds are shown over downtown Los Angeles Thursday Feb. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

A mandatory evacuation due to a high probability of debris and mudflow was ordered Thursday in the Colby Fire Impact Area in Glendora, Calif., according to the Glendora Police Department's Facebook page.

The department said there is the risk of injury and/or death in the event of such a debris or mudflow.

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued in Azusa, Calif., for 11 residences that have been identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works as having a high potential for mud flow flooding.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "Rain will fall everywhere in the state Friday and Friday night with the heavy rain mostly in the southern third of the state."

This is a big difference from that storm that affected the state Wednesday into Thursday, as some residents of Southern California did not even see a drop of rain.

Not only will the rain help battle the drought, but heavy snow is also expected to fall in the mountains with several feet possible in the Sierra through Saturday. This snow is crucial during the warmer months when the runoff helps to fill water reservoirs downstream.

Ken Clark's Western U.S. Weather Blog
Drought-Stricken Southwest Tears up Lawns to Save Water
California Interactive Radar

Several inches of rain are likely through Saturday along the California coast with the heaviest rain focusing along the coast of Southern California.

"I would expect to see some amounts in the 6- to 8-inch range Friday into Saturday in the mountains with 4 to 6 inches in the spots in the lower foothills. This would include the recent burn area around the San Gabriel Valley," Clark said.

Periods of heavy rain are also in store for southern parts of Nevada and Utah as well as northern Arizona as the moisture associated with the storm travels inland.

The storm will bring some hazards with it. Heavy rain can quickly lead to flash and urban flooding. Mudslides are possible, especially in areas that have been affected by wildfires over the past several months.

Folks living in these areas are encouraged to have a plan in place in the event that you must leave your home with little warning.

Thunderstorms will also develop over Southern California on Saturday, bringing the risk of damaging winds and hail. A brief tornado or waterspout cannot be ruled as well.

So far this year, San Diego had received measurable precipitation on only four days totaling 0.50 of an inch. This equates to only 12 percent of what the city normally receives up to this point in the year.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report on Feb. 25, 2014, more than 90 percent of California was under a severe drought, and 74 percent under an extreme drought.

Although the rainfall through the weekend will help to lower these percentages, it will take much more rain to have a long-term impact on the current drought.

The chance of rain will return again to California during the first half of next week; however, most of this rain appears like it will stay mainly over the northern half of the state.


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