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California storm to unleash rain, mountain snow and cooler air at midweek

By By Renee Duff, meteorologist
February 18, 2016, 7:47:53 AM EST

Following a warm, dry first half of February in California, a shift in the weather pattern will bring rain, mountain snow and cooler conditions into Thursday.

A storm approached the West Coast from the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, spreading precipitation much farther south than most storms have done during February.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "While this will not be the long-feared or much-anticipated blockbuster storm for California, it will bring drenching rain and heavy mountain snow to central and northern areas with some rain reaching into Southern California."


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Rain began across northern and central California during Wednesday afternoon.

Rain intensified across central California during Wednesday night.

Intermittent rain also fell on Southern California Wednesday night.

This will be the first time this month that Los Angeles will receive any rainfall. It has been nearly two weeks since the last rain in central and northern California.

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Southwest regional radar

Roadways could be slick at the onset of rain as oil from motor vehicles can create a slippery glaze.

Cooler air associated with the storm will allow snow levels to drop across the Sierra Nevada and northern California mountains.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun, "Heavy snow will fall across the Sierra Nevada with a foot or more of snow possible."

He added that travel would be dangerous through Donner Pass during Wednesday evening and will continue into Thursday.

The storm could also bring strong winds across the Intermountain West.


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Once the storm exits the area Thursday, cooler and drier weather will return to Southern California into the weekend. A second dose of rain and mountain snow will brush northern California as another storm rolls ashore later on Friday.

Prior to the impending storm at midweek, the storm track has focused on the Pacific Northwest, allowing California to bask under sunshine and warmth.

Southern California has experienced the highest temperatures during the warm pattern in the West. San Diego and Los Angeles have both reached high temperatures of 5-20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for most of the month. High temperatures are typically in the middle 60s during February.

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