Another round of rain is ahead for portions of California while some snow returns to portions of the Sierra Nevada mountain range this weekend. Precipitation has been quite scarce this winter in the Golden State. On average, snowfall is only at 19 percent of average, despite the feet of snow that fell less than a week ago. Much of the state is also experiencing a moderate to severe drought, and based on the forecast, the pattern will be somewhat active for California as we get into mid-March, but it is supposed to be an active weather month for the state, so this is not unusual by any means. Check out this cool comparison of the change in snowpack from before last week’s storm to after, courtesy of the MODIS satellite.
Now let’s talk about this next incoming storm. A weak area of low pressure will move into the central coast of California Saturday night, allowing for a wet and stormy weekend for much of the state. As you wake up Saturday morning, a widespread and steady, light to moderate rain will be falling across all of Southern California and into the Central Valley. This rain will spread as far north as the Bay Area, but by this higher latitude, rain will be more spotty in the form of showers. Meanwhile in Northern California, it will be dry with no impacts from this incoming storm. This rain will persist into the afternoon and evening on Saturday, especially across central California; The rain shield will break up a bit in Southern California, especially towards the deserts in the interior. Rain showers will also overspread into southern Nevada and much of Arizona. In the higher elevations of the southern Sierra Nevada, a light snow will fall above 8,000 feet. This will not be a big snow event. Once the snow comes to an end on Sunday, only up to 8 inches is expected.
That rain will continue overnight Saturday, although it won’t be as impressive as on Saturday. The large rain shield will continue to break up as moisture levels gradually fall. Regardless, rain showers are still expected across central and Southern California. The heaviest rain will be found along the coast from Los Angeles through San Diego, which is where rainfall rates of up to 0.4 inches is expected. Periods of rain are also expected in the Four Corners states as well as southern Nevada. Meanwhile in the southern Sierra, the snow will come to an end early Sunday morning. In terms of the snow in the interior Southwest, snow is expected in much of the Rockies while most of Arizona, even at the highest elevations, are too mild for snow.
Speaking of Sunday, our storm will move further inland in the Southwest, leading to an end of the rain by sunrise in California. Across the interior is where the activity will be located. Rain and snow showers are expected across southern Utah, northern Arizona, and northern New Mexico with snow in the Colorado Rockies.
By Monday, the Southwest will experience an end to the precipitation. Here’s how much precipitation is expected through Sunday night across the region: