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Late-week storm to deliver critical rainfall to California

By By Renee Duff, meteorologist
October 27, 2016, 12:18:24 AM EDT

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Rain will douse California late this week, with the potential for some rain to reach southern portions of the state.

While the rain will be beneficial in terms of the drought, enough rain can fall to cause travel disruptions and localized flash flooding from Thursday to Friday.

More than 40 percent of California is dealing with extreme to exceptional drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor released on Oct. 20.

On Sunday, the city of Victorville, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, received rain for the first time since April 28, picking up 0.11 of an inch.

The bulk of the wet weather will remain focused across the Pacific Northwest into midweek before the storm track shifts farther south during the second half of the week.

From Thursday into Friday, a storm will spread rain inland across northern and central California, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde said.


The heaviest rain is expected to fall across northern and central California, including in San Francisco and Sacramento.

The rain may also spread across areas that have largely been missed by the recent Pacific storms, including in Fresno and potentially as far south as Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

“Rainfall amounts will vary widely, but rainfall totals are expected to range between 0.50 and 2 inches,” Rinde said.

Higher amounts are possible, especially across the Sierra.

In Southern California, rainfall totals are forecast to be less than half an inch.

"Should tropical moisture become involved, there is the potential for a greater amount of rainfall that could last beyond the end of the week, especially in Southern California," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Moisture from Seymour, currently a major hurricane south of Baja California, Mexico, could be drawn northward late in the week and into the weekend.

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Too much rain could fall in a short amount of time, leading to localized incidents of flash flooding, Rinde said.

Land that has been burned from wildfires over the summer will be most susceptible to flash flooding and possible mudslides.

Portions of interstates 5, 10, 15, 40 and 80 may be slower than normal for a time from the downpours.

"Any substantial rain in central and Southern California could create slick conditions for travelers as the rain water mixes with the oil residue left behind during the dry summer months," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

This storm will not pack a lot of cold air, so snow levels throughout the event will generally stay above 9,000 feet.

“Only the highest peaks across California will experience snow,” Rinde said.

Beyond Friday, Southern California is expected to dry out for the weekend. However, wet weather may persist for at least part of the weekend across northern and central California as a new storm rolls onshore.

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