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Heaviest Rain in Months Heading to Southern California

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
February 27, 2014, 4:05:12 AM EST

The second half of this week will feature soaking rain and mountain snow returning to drought-stricken California.

According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Marc Mancuso,"The combination of the two storms have the potential to bring the biggest rains to Southern California, since March of 2011."

The first system will move through California Wednesday through Thursday, with the second to follow for Friday through the first part of the the weekend.

@vcstar tweeted: "Much needed rain, snow to hit parched California. Twin storms could double rainfall totals for drought-stricken state"

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According to Meteorologist Jordan Root, "Folks who may be disappointed by rain totals from the first event should not worry."


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The second is likely to be the stronger and wetter of the two systems, bringing a much-needed soaking to many communities, including areas farther south.

If the first storm bypasses or only grazes Southern California, the second will not. It is possible that Downtown Los Angeles receives at least half of the rain that fell in all of 2013 (3.60 inches) from this one storm Friday through next weekend.

Several inches of rain could soak the northern California coast, while feet of snow may blanket the Sierra. Snow levels could drop low enough to whiten the mountains of Southern California.

The second storm also brings the potential for flash flooding, mudslides, locally damaging winds thunderstorms with hail.


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RELATED:
Western US Blog: Two Storms to Bring Needed Rain
Southwest Regional Interactive Radar
Every State May Feel the Effects of Historic California Drought

The upcoming rain and mountain snow will definitely be welcome to a state where the percentage area of places enduring an extreme to exceptional drought was 68 percent on Feb. 18, the U.S. Drought Monitor stated in its latest report. The number was nearly 61 percent the week prior.


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California's Department of Water Resources states that the amount of water stored in the snowpack across the Sierra was only 25 percent of normal on Friday.

As this snow in the Sierra melts during the warmer months, the runoff helps fill reservoirs downstream.

While many residents are likely rejoicing at the news of the returning wet weather, some hazards will also accompany the storms.

Enough rain could fall to trigger flash flooding and mudslides in areas recently burned by wildfires.

At the rain's onset, roads will turn slick as the rain mixes with oil residue left behind by vehicles during the prolonged dry spell.

Motorists could face treacherous travel and chain restrictions in the mountains, including on I-80's Donner Summit. Flight delays may impact airline passengers.

The second storm could also trigger severe thunderstorms.


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