Weekend storm to be start of Pacific storm parade along US West Coast

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
January 05, 2019, 2:59:44 PM EST

A storm packing rain, heavy mountain snow and locally damaging winds will slam the West Coast of the United States this weekend, with more storms to come into next week.

The worst of the impacts during the stormy pattern into next week will target more of California, especially northern parts of the state, than what has been the case in recent weeks.

“A storm will move into California into Saturday night with areas of heavy rain and mountain snow,” said AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido.

“Widespread 1- to 3-inch rainfall totals will be possible in northern parts of the state,” he added.

People traveling into or out of San Francisco International Airport or hitting the roadways along interstates 5 and 80 in Northern California should anticipate delays during the first half of the weekend.

West into Sun 1.5 AM

Rain that falls on the roadways can mix with oil buildup and create extra slippery conditions for motorists, especially at the onset of precipitation.

As rain continues to fall throughout the storm, water will pond on the roadways and create a heightened risk of hydroplaning while traveling at highway speeds.

Low-lying, poor drainage and burn scar areas will be at greatest risk for any localized flooding or mudslide issues with the storm.

Late Saturday afternoon into Saturday night, some rain will reach as far north as Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, and as far south as Los Angeles and San Diego.

There will be a heavy accumulating snow in the north-central Sierra Nevada, according to Vido.

Snowfall will be measured in feet over the high country from the northern Sierra Nevada to the southern Cascades.

SW regional 1.5 AM

Travelers over I-80’s Donner Pass should expect difficult and dangerous travel, especially Saturday afternoon into Saturday night when the heaviest snow is forecast to fall.

Blowing snow will further reduce visibility for motorists.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see just how much rain or snow is forecast for your area.

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“Strong winds will also be an issue with this system, especially in coastal areas, where gusts from 40-60 mph will be frequent,” Vido said.

The gustiest weather will focus on Northern California and south-central Oregon.

“The high winds combined with saturated grounds will lead to a power outage potential,” Vido said. Trees can also be downed.

Storm parade 1.5 AM

“The wet weather will likely carry over into next week across north-central California, Oregon and Washington,” Vido added.

The next storm will already be knocking on the door late Sunday, with Northern California in line to receive the brunt of its rain, wind and snow.

Yet another storm will crash ashore during the middle of next week with the potential to impact a broader area of the West Coast, including Southern California.

The flood and mudslide risk will be heightened with each successive storm, especially around the larger burn scars.

Continue to check back with AccuWeather.com for the latest details on the storms to come.

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