Fox News Weather Center

More Rain Headed to Drought-Stricken West

The parade of storms will continue for the West Coast through this week, bringing even more drought relief to California.

Several storms are lined up to deliver rain to the region through the middle of December before the weather pattern changes and storms begin to take a more northerly path towards Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

As much as 1 to 2 inches of rain may still fall before the pattern shifts, including in California cities such as San Francisco, Redding and Eureka.

The heaviest rain looks to stay north of Southern California, but showers will still dampen residents and travelers on several occasions before the weekend.

The next storm system will begin to move into the state late on Tuesday, right on the heels of the system that brought rain to much of the state on Monday.

While the bulk of rain is forecast to fall late on Tuesday and through Tuesday night, showers are expected to linger around through Wednesday across much of the state, leading to some minor travel delays.

Californians will get a brief break from the wet weather on Thursday before yet another storm spreads rain over northern and central portions of the state to close out the week.

The threat of urban flooding and mudslides will remain through Friday, especially in northern and central California where the heaviest rain is forecast to fall.

Fortunately, it does not appear like flooding and mudslides will be nearly as widespread as last week when one of the most powerful storms in years soaked the state.

Rain will not be the only precipitation that these storms bring as snow is forecast to fall over the Sierra Nevada range.

While the heaviest snow is expected to fall over the higher mountains, snow levels can occasionally drop low enough to cause snowy roads in places such as Donner Pass along Interstate 80.

Rain This Month
Normal Rainfall in December
San Francisco 9.13" 4.03"
Los Angeles 3.16" 2.33"
Sacramento 6.58" 2.25"
San Diego 3.58" 1.53"
Monterey 8.04" 3.41"
Redding 7.44" 6.27"

Despite the dangers and travel delays that these storms bring, the rain is much needed to help ease the ongoing drought.

While no single storm can erase the immense deficit created by the years of drought conditions, each storm that delivers rain to the state chips away at the drought severity.

December has turned out to be a good month so far in terms of rainfall as many areas have already received more rain than they typically receive in all of December.

This week's rainfall will add even more water to reservoirs across the state and to the snowpack in the mountains.

The snow that falls over the Sierra Nevada is very important for the drought in the long term. During the summer months, melting snow feeds streams and rivers that supplies water for cities and agriculture father downstream.

The snow is also good in the winter months for ski resorts who depend on it to supply powder-filled slopes for skiers and snowboarders.

The upcoming shift in the pattern will take place just in time for the holidays, making for dry weather for holiday travelers across California during the last two weeks of December and for the start of the new year.

The only exception to this is in northern California where rain and mountain snow may occasionally dip southward with storms that track over Oregon and Washington.