Pacific Storm to Bring Welcomed Rain, Flood Risk to California

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist

Accuweather.com November 30, 2014; 12:10 PM ET

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Drenching rain will spread over California through the middle of the new week, bringing some relief to the ongoing drought and raising the risk of flash flooding.

After one system brings rain to parts of central and northern California into Monday, a second and stronger storm will push onshore during Tuesday.

While a series of storms have brought rain to parts of northern and central California over the past few weeks, the second storm will bring the first significant rain event for Southern California since the the spring.

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno could all receive over an inch of rain from this storm with some locations receiving as much as 4 inches by Wednesday night. The greatest amount of rain will fall on the west- and southwest-facing slopes of the coastal ranges.

The heaviest rain is expected to reach coastal Southern California on Tuesday. The rain will continue Tuesday night, before tapering to showers on Wednesday.


Bajadock: My “pub” is located on the little point of land knowns as the Punta Banda peninsula.  Rain is needed!  Seems that we get a good rainstorm during the first week of December every year.


Spotty, less-intense rain will spill well inland, reaching the desert areas of Palm Springs, California and Las Vegas.

During the beginning of the rain, the combination of moisture and oil buildup on roads can make for very slick conditions. Allow extra stopping time at intersections and distance between vehicles while moving at highway speeds.

Travel disruptions are possible on both Tuesday and Wednesday with rain reducing visibility for drivers and causing delays at the airports.

The rain will come down hard enough to cause isolated urban and flash flooding, as well as raise the risk of mudslides. The risk of mudslides will be greatest in recent wildfire burn areas.

Snow levels will lower as the storm progresses, but will remain above the passes in Southern California and will barely reach Donner Pass along Interstate-80.

While this single rain event will likely have a small impact on the long-term drought, it will have a higher impact in the short term.

Many cities across California have only received a fraction of the rainfall that they typically see during the month of November.

City Rainfall in November Percent of Normal
Los Angeles 0.18 17%
San Diego 0.37 37%
San Francisco 0.87 37%
Fresno 0.39 36%
Palm Springs 0.07 13%
Bakersfield 0.01 2%

Rainfall totals are for the month of November through Nov. 28.

This could turn out to be the biggest rain event in Los Angeles since the end of February when a system dumped over 4 inches on the city.

It will take much more rain and high country snow than this storm can produce to alleviate the long-term drought conditions.

Drier conditions are forecast to return to much of California by Thursday, making for better conditions for those looking to spend time in the outdoors.

However, a few showers may linger around over northern California and along the state’s coast as the storm tracks across the Plains.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.


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