Fox News Weather Center

Late week rain, mountain snow to end California's dry and unseasonably warm stretch

Following a dry and warm first half of February in California, a shift in the weather pattern will bring the return of rain, mountain snow and cooler conditions Wednesday into Thursday.

"The long stretch of dry and unseasonably warm weather California has been experiencing will change [this week]," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said.

Southern California has experienced the highest temperatures during this stretch. San Diego and Los Angeles have both reached high temperatures of 5-20 degrees above normal for most of the month.

So far this month, the storm track has focused on the Pacific Northwest, allowing California to bask under sunshine and warmth.

While the summerlike warmth and abundant sunshine will hold through Tuesday, a shift in the storm track will allow a system to roll ashore later on Wednesday.

"This system is expected to bring significant rain and mountain snow across the state through Thursday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

Rain will likely begin across northern California and the central California coast Wednesday afternoon.

Those heading to work and school Wednesday morning will want to dig out an umbrella from the closet as rain will begin by Wednesday evening's commute.

Roadways could be slick at the onset of rain as oil from motor vehicles can create a slippery glaze.

Rain is expected to intensify across central California and shift into Southern California Wednesday night. Localized flooding is possible, especially across areas affected by wildfires in 2015.

This will be the first time this month that Los Angeles has received any rainfall.

As the storm sinks farther south, cooler air will filter into the region and whisk away any remaining warmth.

"High temperatures will return to near-normal values [by the end of the week]," Rathbun said.

This cooler air will also allow for snow levels to drop across the Sierra Nevada and northern California mountains.

"Heavy snow will fall across the Sierra Nevada with more than a foot of snow possible," Rathbun said.

He added that travel would be dangerous through Donner Pass Wednesday night.

Once the storm exits the area Thursday morning, drier weather will return to Southern California into the weekend, while wet weather will linger across northern California into Friday.