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Will more needed rain follow early week storm into California?

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 09, 2018, 3:18:50 AM EST

With the first significant storm of the winter season targeting the Southwest, many residents may be wondering if the weather pattern is finally flipping with more needed rain and mountain snow in the offering.

Aside from the concern for flooding and mudslides in the burn areas and widespread travel delays, a turn to wet weather would benefit the Southwest.

feature ca storm

All of Southern California is abnormally dry or experiencing a moderate drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. Severe drought conditions are plaguing parts of the Four Corners region.

An average of California’s snow reporting stations indicates that only 11 percent of the snow that is typically on the ground by Jan. 1 has fallen, the state’s Department of Water Resources reported.

Snow is vital to the state’s water supply in the summer as melting snow feeds downstream rivers and reservoirs. The good news is that nearly all of California’s reservoirs are currently at above-normal levels.

Unfortunately, the early week storm will not mark the beginning of a stretch of wet weather for the Southwest.

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Southwestern US interactive radar

After the storm swings through, dry weather will quickly return by midweek and hold firm through the weekend as high pressure once again regains control.

The storm track will shift back to the north with a couple bouts of rain and mountain snow expected to target the Northwest.

Temperatures throughout the Southwest will then rebound well above normal later in the week and next weekend. Downtown Los Angeles may once again flirt with the 80-degree mark, when a high in the upper 60s is more typical this time of year.

Dry Cali 1.9 AM

The warmth can quickly melt some of the snow that falls earlier this week.

Gusty offshore winds may occasionally blow across Southern California amid the dry spell. However, the early week rain is expected to quell the fire danger.

It may take nearly a full week for rain or mountain snow to return to California, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

"The storm track may shift back southward and impact California starting around Jan. 15-16," he said.

Latest indications point toward the bulk of the storms during that time targeting Northern California, but rain and mountain snow may also work into Southern California and other parts of the Southwest as the third week of January progresses.

AccuWeather long-range meteorologists warned that this winter in the Southwest would be dominated by drier and warmer weather when the forecast outlook was issued in early October.

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