Needed California Rain Arrives Along With Storm Threat

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
April 1, 2014; 7:54 PM ET
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Play video A look at the weather in the southwestern United States.

Much-needed rain looks to make a return to California during the first half of this week, but this rain will not return alone.

Strong thunderstorms will accompany the rain over central California on Tuesday, affected cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, Redding, Santa Rosa and San Jose.

Those in the path of these storms could experience travel delays, especially those at the airport as poor weather conditions could lead to flight delays.

Folks headed out to the ballpark in Oakland to watch the Athletics host the Indians on Tuesday evening might want to wear the proper attire with rain in the forecast. The same can be said for those headed to the Angels game in Los Angeles.

Thunderstorms that develop over this area on Tuesday will be capable of producing hail and damaging wind gusts past 60 mph. A few short-lived tornadoes cannot be ruled out either.

Another danger that these storms brings is the risk of flash flooding.

The current drought has left the ground across the state starved of moisture, making it easier for heavy rain to quickly flow over the land and into nearby streams and rivers rather than being absorbed into the soil.

Although the brunt of the storm will focus on central parts of the state, some rain showers will still manage to make their way into Southern California.

While rainfall might not be as heavy as it is with storms to the north, the lighter precipitation over Southern California will make it easier for the ground to absorb the rainwater.

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Snow is also forecast to fall over the higher elevations, such as the Sierras.

This will add to the well below-normal snowpack that is crucial during the summer months.

As the snow melts heading into the warmer summer months, it feeds fresh water into streams and rivers, which in turn helps to fill water reservoirs farther downstream.

Showers and thunderstorms will shift over Southern California for Wednesday while the rest of the state dries out; although none of these thunderstorms are expected to produce severe weather.

Beyond this, the only chance for rain through the rest of the week will come to the northern coast of California as another system affects the West Coast.

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