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Fox News Weather Center

El Nino-driven storm to blast California, southwestern US with rain and snow

Stormy conditions, common of a strong El Niño weather pattern, will make a brief return to Southern California and the southwestern United States this weekend.

This storm will also end the warmth across the region through Saturday by sending temperatures below normal into early February.

How intense this storm will be once it arrives across the Southwest remains in question.

"How heavy the rain, snow and wind get in Southern California will depend on how quickly the storm strengthens as it approaches the coast," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Showers will make an appearance to San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas. The heaviest rain may fall from Los Angeles to San Diego.

"At the very least, there will be a few rounds of rain and mountain snow with the heaviest amounts centered on Los Angeles and San Diego," Sosnowski said.

Rain amounts could average between 0.50 of an inch and 1 inch from Los Angeles to San Diego.

The threat for any widespread flooding will be low, but this rain will continue to put a dent in the drought across California.

This storm will bring a shot of cooler air across the region as some locations will transition over from rain to snow. This includes portions of southern Nevada and Utah, northern Arizona and northwestern Arizona.

Gusty winds will accompany this storm from Southern California to New Mexico as winds could occasionally gust over 30 mph. Those traveling along interstates 8, 10, 17, 25 and 40 will need to have a firm grip on the steering wheel when traveling from Sunday afternoon into Monday morning.

Temperatures will be low enough for snow from the Sierra Nevada into northern Nevada, central Utah, the Colorado Rockies and the central Highlands of central Arizona. Over a foot of snow can fall in the mountains.

Snow will even make an appearance in Salt Lake City, mainly during Sunday night into Monday.

There may be enough cold air for rain to change to snow across the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains of Southern California during Sunday night.

Much of California will dry out on Monday as snow will continue to fall across the Four Corners region.

This storm will track across the Four Corners through Monday before reaching the central Plains into Tuesday, bringing the potential for severe weather and significant snow to the central United States.

There will not be a threat for any additional storms for next week as a large area of high pressure will bring a stretch of drier weather across the Southwest.

"In the wake of the storm, the storm track will pull northward again next week and may stay there through at least mid-February," Sosnowski said.

So far this winter, rainfall across California has not been typical of a strong El Niño pattern. However, there is still another two months of winter left for big storms to impact the Southwest.