Fox News Weather Center

Relentless rain, mountain snow to inundate flood-weary California into the weekend

As El Niño-enhanced storms continue to push onto the West Coast, additional rounds of rain and mountain snow will aggravate flooding and hinder cleanup efforts across California.

Dramatic flood scenes from El Niño-ravaged California

The onslaught of storms began earlier this week with a new storm arriving along the West Coast almost daily.

California has been hit the hardest with consecutive days of heavy mountain snow and flooding rain. A widespread 1 to 3 inches of rain has doused the area since the beginning of the week, with higher amounts near the mountain slopes.

Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco all recorded an inch or more of rain on Tuesday.

Drainage systems have been unable to handle the deluge, forcing partial closures of roads and major interstates, including Interstate 5. Mudslides, evacuations, power outages and even a couple of weak, short-lived tornadoes have also been reported over the past few days.

Compared to previous days this week, Thursday will feature lighter and more scattered rain that will gradually taper off throughout the day. Any additional rainfall, however, will only add insult to injury as the saturated ground cannot effectively absorb any more water.

Drivers are reminded to use extra caution when driving on wet roadways to avoid hydroplaning. Alternate routes should be taken whenever flooded roadways are encountered.

A reprieve in the rain and snow is forecast for Friday as California lies between storm systems.

"Friday will likely be dry in much of the state," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

This break in the rain should allow waters to slowly recede in some areas and help crews in their cleanup efforts.

Adamson warned that the break would be short-lived as the next system is expected to move into the coast Friday night into Saturday.

"Most of the precipitation will focus from Los Angeles northward on Saturday, with rain moving southward and affecting areas such as San Diego on Saturday night," said Adamson.

A more extended period of dry weather is in store for the last half of the weekend and into much of Monday before the next system rolls onto the coast.

Storms will continue to pound the West Coast next week but with less frequency and more northward tracks.

During winters that feature a strong El Niño, it is not unusual to see a persistent stormy pattern across the West.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "the above-average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño, tend to strengthen the storm track into the West Coast and occasionally California during the winter."

Although disruptive in the short-term, the rain and mountain snow should make a lasting dent in the long-term drought that has plagued California.