Rain to renew mudslide concerns in burn scar areas of California this week

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 04, 2018, 10:56:49 PM EST

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The latest winter storm will sweep from west to east across the southern United States through this weekend with its first stop over California into Thursday.

Rain, mountain snow and gusty winds will spread southeastward across California through Wednesday night.

This storm is not expected to rival the potent storm from late last week which dumped feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada and triggered numerous mudslides in the burn scar areas. However, residents and visitors can still face travel disruptions and localized hazards around midweek.

The heaviest rainfall will target the central coastline and Southern California, but there can still be localized downpours elsewhere in the state.

Wed SW 12.5 AM


"The risk for mudslides and debris flows in the burn scar areas may be highest around where the Woolsey and Thomas fires scorched land and homes north of Los Angeles," AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel stated.

AccuWeather meteorologists will monitor the potential for any additional downpours to accompany the periods of rain set to follow through Thursday. Isolated thunderstorms may even rumble across Southern California.

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The storm will continue to move slowly along. Rain and mountain snow are scheduled to depart Northern California Wednesday night, but linger in Southern California into Thursday.

Download the free AccuWeather app to know when rain is expected in your community.

The rain can lead to flight delays and slower travel on area interstates. This includes in San Francisco through Wednesday, and Los Angeles and San Diego from Wednesday into Thursday morning.

Gusty winds can also buffet the California coast during the first half of the storm, which will stir up dangerously rough seas and renew beach hazards.

Residents along the coast will want to ensure outdoor holiday decorations are properly secured to avoid being blown around and damaged.

Thu SW 12.4 PM


In the mountains, motorists planning to travel through Donner Summit along Interstate 80 should expect slippery travel due to occasional snowfall.

The ski resorts in the southern Sierra may welcome around another foot of snow.

The return of snow through the I-5 Grapevine Corridor is not anticipated with this storm, but the storm may end as some snow in the mountains of Southern California.

Where will the storm track after impacting California?

The storm set to move into California is expected to be the next to cross the nation with far-reaching disruptive impacts. The storm may lay a swath of snow and ice along its northern flank and potentially flooding rain and severe thunderstorms to the south.

Latest indications point toward rain and mountain snow tracking across the southern Rockies Thursday into Friday.

Major impacts from snow, ice and rain are forecast over the South Central states to end the week.

College Station, Texas, may be among the cities south of the storm that may face heavy rain or thunderstorms, one day after the late-President George H.W. Bush is laid to rest.

The storm will then track to the East for the weekend. Depending on its exact track, there is a potential for snow and ice to spread from the Ohio Valley to a part of the mid-Atlantic or Northeast.

AccuWeather meteorologists will provide more precise details on this impending disruptive storm in the coming days.

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