West Coast storm train to resume later this week
After some showers and areas of snow develop in parts of the West on Monday and Tuesday, a more substantial storm will arrive later in the week.
After a brief break from the storm train along the West Coast much of this week, another round of Pacific storms will take aim at the northwestern United States beginning on Thursday. AccuWeather meteorologists say that at least three storms will unleash drenching rain, mountain snow and gusty wind through the middle of December.
The storm that pushed southeastward along the Pacific coast this past weekend came to an end on Monday. The storm dropped a general 1-2 inches of rain on Northern California. The northern and central Sierra Nevada was on the receiving end of 1-3 feet of snow.
Showery precipitation is likely to settle southward into Southern California into midweek.
"A large dip in the jet stream will remain in place over the western third of the United States this week. This will help steer any moisture into the West Coast, with lingering energy in the atmosphere allowing for showers to remain a possibility," AccuWeather Meteorologist Thomas Geiger explained.
This setup will be most prominent on Tuesday and Wednesday, when cities such as San Diego and Sacramento, California, as well as Portland, Oregon, will be dodging rain showers throughout the day. This rain is unlikely to become heavy, but will be enough to make an umbrella or rain jacket come in handy.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo also explained this dip in the jet stream will keep it chilly in much of the west, the most extreme of which will be in Seattle and across much of the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures will remain 5-15 degrees below normal for early December.
The December chill, when accompanied by the rain may lead to unpleasant conditions for some residents taking part in outdoor activities.
Toward the second half of the week, a more substantial storm will move onshore and lead to widespread impacts.
"Unlike this past weekend's storm which generally lingered offshore, the storm later this week is likely to track onshore, with rain and snow quickly slamming into the coast," Geiger explained.
Depending on how much cold air is available, rain could change to snow at some low-elevation cities in the Northwest, such as Bellingham, Washington, and Seattle, on Thursday and Friday. Substantial snow accumulations will be measured at higher elevations, likely making travel through the major mountain passes difficult or impossible.
Farther south in Oregon and Northern California, rain is likely at the lower elevations. Rounds of rain can make for slow travel as the storm pushes onshore. While it remains to be seen just how far south this rain reaches, it is possible that Southern California misses out on this round of moisture. If rain does reach the region, motorists should be aware of the potential for longer travel times.
Regardless of where exactly the steadiest and heaviest rain falls, long-term rain will be beneficial across the West Coast. According to the most recent report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, the large majority of the region is experiencing drought conditions, including 99% of California and 60% of Oregon still experiencing a moderate or worse drought. While one week will not put an end to the rainfall deficit, it will continue the slow climb out of a long-lasting drought.
At least two more storms will likely roll in from the Pacific and into areas from Washington to Northern California into the middle of the month before a pattern change occurs that may deflect storms toward British Columbia.
"A second storm could swing ashore in the Northwest as early as this weekend, followed by a third storm during the middle of next week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "Each storm is likely to be packed with moisture and the potential for up to a few inches of rain at low elevations and feet of snow from the passes to the high country of the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada."
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