By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
March 20,2017, 12:28:11PM,EDT
Stormy weather will resume in California with rain, mountain snow and even thunderstorms sweeping through early this week.After spotty rain dampened northern California this weekend, rainfall will become more widespread through Tuesday and end the stretch of dry weather that spanned the last two weeks across more of the state.
“After a recent break from the active weather pattern, Californians must brace for the next brush with the atmospheric river of moisture,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.
Residents across northern areas and the central coast will have to don their rain jackets for the first day of spring as rain spreads inland over the northern and central counties of the state.
“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.
Enough rain can fall to result in localized flooding, particularly in low-lying and poor-drainage areas. Drivers should take caution to avoid flooded areas.
"The greatest risk for areas of flooding will be along the western slopes of the mountains in northern and central California, where a total of 1-3 inches of rain can pour down," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
“Streams and rivers already running above-normal levels can exceed flood stage and pose a risk to homeowners living in flood plains," Elliott said.
When though San Francisco and the Interstate 5 corridor of the Central Valley will escape the heaviest rain, minor flight delays and travel slowdowns can still occur.
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"In addition to showers on Tuesday, gusty winds will blow and even thunderstorms will rumble," Pydynowski said. "A few of the thunderstorms will produce small hail."
As the rain pours down in the lower elevations, burying snowfall will return to the Sierra.
"Snow levels in the Sierra will start above 8,000 feet, but will fall to 6,500 feet by late Tuesday," Pydynowski said. "A total of 1-2 feet of snow can further bury locations above 8,000 feet."
Travel will become treacherous through I-80s Donner Pass, where a total of 3-6 inches is expected with blowing and drifting snow.
“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.
Impacts from the early week storm will not be confined to central and northern California.
"Showers will sweep into Southern California on Tuesday, threatening to cause slick roads around Los Angeles," Pydynowski said. "Any showers should hold off until the late afternoon hours in San Diego."
Another storm quickly on the heels of the early week system may deliver steadier rain and more travel disruptions to Southern California at midweek.
"There can also be another round of thunderstorms in central California as more snow falls in the Sierra," Pydynowski said.