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California storms to abate as drought relief continues

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Storms packing heavy rain and heavy mountain snow will take a break beginning during the middle of this week, while further drought relief looks promising for California.

Problems related to flooding, debris flows, snow-covered roads and heavy seas will continue into Tuesday morning.

Static Van Nuys Flooding AP

Cars barrel their way through a flooded street in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Deadly storms unleash damage, flooding in California

This past weekend, the San Lorenzo River flooded for the second time in two weeks in Santa Cruz County, California.

Between 2 and 4 inches of rain fell on coastal Southern California during Sunday alone, which had first responders busy setting up roadblocks, performing swift water rescues, clearing debris and repairing power lines.

Daily rainfall records were set at Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, on Sunday.

Evacuations occurred in parts of Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Barbara counties for fears of mudslides and flash flooding in recent wildfire burn areas, according to ABC News. Several people had to be rescued during flash flooding at El Capitan Canyon campground in California late last week.

Static El Capitan Canyon campground flash flood

Cabins and vehicles are swept away by storm runoff at El Capitan Canyon Resort & Campground in Gaviota, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. via AP)

One person was killed in Ukiah, California, when a tree crashed through an apartment building on Saturday, Jan. 21, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Another person died from injuries after being swept away by a large wave at Ocean Beach, California, on Saturday, according to the Times of San Diego.

As storms abate, travel conditions to improve over California

The caboose in the recent train of major storms will move inland during the middle days of this week.

Travel conditions will substantially improve and surf will ease as a result.

"The only trouble at midweek will be gusty northeasterly winds in some areas as a chilly Santa Ana develops," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

Static Cali Drying Out

"Due to the amount of unstable snow on the slopes and shifting winds, there will be the risk of avalanches through the middle of the week," Duffey said.

Dry weather will settle over much of the western United States during the middle and latter part of this week and will linger into early next week.

During this period, storms will be forced much farther north into British Columbia and Alaska.

"Beyond the middle of this week, colder air will spread out over much of the nation," Duffey said. "The pattern later this week into next week will favor persistent valley and basin fog over the interior West."

Storms from the Pacific Ocean will return in February but will be directed more into the Northwest states, rather than central and Southern California.

"We don't see February being nearly as wet as January for California as a whole, but there will be some storms with rain and mountain snow, especially in the northern part of the state," Duffey said.

More short-term and long-term drought relief on the way

This winter, multiple trains of storms have delivered rainfall from two to four times that of average in California.

More than 25 feet of snow has fallen over the high country of the Sierra Nevada since the middle of November. In some areas, there is more than 15 feet of dense snow on the ground.

Drought status will continue to improve over Southern California through next week, even as the storm machine switches to a gentler, more northern mode.

There are no longer any areas in drought over northern California, and conditions in the southern part of the state continue to improve according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Static Drought Status Cali.

"There can still be a handful of storms that bring some rain to Southern California for the remainder of the winter, but they will likely not be as potent as what has already occurred," Duffey said.

Water supplies will be replenished during spring and summer. The current snowpack in the Sierra Nevada translates to about 30 inches of water that will be slowly released into streams, reservoirs and aqueducts in the warmer months.

"There should not be as much competition for water in the southern versus northern part of California this summer, even as the storm pattern diminishes," Duffey said.