Much-needed rain and cooler air is set to descend over California later this week, but the pattern change may come with some set backs for fire-ravaged areas.
The weather pattern to come will be a complete 180-degree turn when compared to the stretch of hot, extremely dry and windy conditions that fanned large and deadly blazes.
As of early Sunday morning, over one dozen active fires were burning across California, according to Cal Fire. More than 214,000 acres have been charred.
The wildfires have taken the lives of at least 40 people and have forced approximately 100,000 people to evacuate, according to the Associated Press. It is estimated that 5,700 homes and other structures have been destroyed.
While the strongest winds have since lessened over Northern California, Southern California will continue to be buffeted by Santa Ana winds gusting to 35-55 mph into Sunday evening.
“Gusts of 20-40 mph can still be expected on Sunday night and into Monday morning,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. “A lighter gusty breeze may follow on Monday night and into Tuesday morning.”
Residents, especially those in wind-prone areas, should remain on alert for rapid wildfire ignition and have a plan and necessities in place in the event of a sudden evacuation.
Despite winds slackening early this week, it will remain extremely dry with above-average warmth. The heat will hold on the longest across Southern California, lasting into midweek.
“The wildfire threat will [remain] at a critical stage as ignition and growth can occur easily under these conditions,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said.
A big change will arrive beyond midweek as the wave of storms set to lash the Northwest will take aim at California.
“Much of Northern and central California can expect an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather to move in by week’s end,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts said.
The storm has the potential to bring the most significant rainfall to the region since April.
The wet weather and increased humidity will help to douse ongoing blazes and may give firefighters the upper hand, as well as work to improve air quality.
Rain could change to snow across the Sierra Nevada, posing troubles for travelers, but coming at the delight of skiers eager to get on the slopes.
Temperatures will plunge from the 80s and 90s F to the 60s and 70s across a large portion of the state in the unsettled pattern.
For the most part, the pattern change will be good news for the region. However, there may be a few setbacks.
“Increased runoff in burned areas could heighten the risk of localized flash flooding in Northern California,” Eherts said.
Cleanup efforts could be hindered in fire-ravaged communities.
Winds are also expected to increase ahead of and during the storm, which could fan ongoing blazes for a time, according to Eherts.
Airline and roadway delays typical of such storms are likely to mount during the late week as well.
Some of the rain, while less intense, could reach the moderate drought areas of Southern California. At the very least, clouds and cooler air will stretch this far south.