By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
March 18,2017, 6:45:03AM,EDT
Following a relatively calm weekend, wet weather is set to soak much of California on Monday and Tuesday.A cold front moving onshore from the Pacific will push moisture into the atmosphere over northern and coastal parts of the state on Monday, bringing the first deluge of the week to many.
“After a recent break from the active weather pattern, Californians must brace for the next brush with the atmospheric river of moisture aimed farther to the north,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.
While coastal areas north of the San Francisco Bay can anticipate a rainy Monday from the start, those farther inland can wait until the afternoon to don their rain jackets.
“The worst of the storm will hold off until Monday night and into Tuesday, when the heaviest downpours are forecast to move onshore,” Elliott said.
Heavy downpours could result in localized flooding, particularly in low-lying and poor-drainage areas. Drivers should take caution to avoid flooded areas.
High-elevation areas can expect flakes to fly beginning late on Monday night as temperatures fall.
Snow levels are predicted to remain around 8,000 feet, with accumulation expected mainly over the ridges of the central and northern Sierras.
“However, snow levels in the Sierra will still remain rather high given just how high recent temperatures have climbed,” Elliott said.
While plummeting temperatures are unlikely, this storm will usher in a cooler air mass.
As a result, low-elevation snow may lead to slick travel through Donner Pass, though a complete closure in unlikely.
“Even the slightest bit of snow on roadways can lead to spin-outs and treacherous traveling conditions as tires quickly lose their traction on snow-covered roadways,” Elliott said.
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Snow over the Sierras, waves of rain from Fresno to San Francisco and Reno and showers as far south as Los Angeles will make for a wet Tuesday.
“Due to recent flooding issues and already saturated soils, a heightened risk for mudslides and rockslides exists, so much that even a modest amount of rainfall can trigger serious and life-threatening situations,” Elliott said.
“Streams and rivers already running above normal levels can exceed flood stage and pose a risk to homeowners living in flood plains.”
While winds will be relatively light with this system, heavy rain will result in slick roads and decreased visibility, leading to travel delays.
After a lull in the precipitation on Tuesday night, another potential storm is on the horizon for the middle of the week.