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Fox News Weather Center

Two Additional Storms Lined up to Drench California Before Christmas

Two more storms are lining up over the northern Pacific Ocean and have their sights set on bringing more rain and mountain snow to California, Oregon and Nevada.

As is often the case with storms with heavy rain in the region, there will be a renewed risk of flash flooding and mudslides.

One storm is projected to move in during the first part of next week. The storm will spread drenching rain onshore into northern California Sunday night and spread into Oregon and central California on Monday.

The storm will hit San Francisco and Sacramento, before spreading to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada.

During Monday afternoon and Monday night, moisture from the storm will spread into Southern California and Nevada.

While the storm may not be quite as potent as that of the Thursday-Friday storm from this week, it may last longer. Episodes of rain from the first storm next week may last several days.

Early estimates on rainfall from the storm early next week are between 1 and 3 inches with a few locations picking up double that, mainly on the west- and southwest-facing slopes of the coastal ranges, Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades.

Winds are not likely to be as strong over such a broad area, when compared to the storm this week, but can cause some problems at the local level due to downed trees and sporadic power outages.

Like the storm from late this week, snow levels will be high initially but will fall to and below Donner Pass. The first storm next week may deliver several feet of snow to the high country in the Sierra Nevada.

A second storm may arrive on the northern California, Oregon and Washington coasts late next Friday into Saturday and expand inland and southward during the balance of the weekend.

It is beyond the storm next weekend, where the stormy pattern may break.

The steering flow of moisture from the Pacific will shift northward along the West coast. As a result, most storms starting the week of Christmas will track into Oregon, Washington and perhaps into British Columbia, rather than Southern California.

Before the rainy pattern takes a break, cumulative rainfall will have taken a huge slice out of the long-term drought. In some cases, thanks to the rain during late November through much of December, rainfall deficits dating back a couple of years may be been cut in half before Christmas 2014.

The pattern shift could lead to a major storm at some point during the week of Christmas in the East, followed by a return of arctic air.