Is Relief in Sight for Exhausted Southwest as Another California Storm Approaches?


Following the recent barrage of extreme weather in California and the Southwest, another potent storm is on the way early next week, bringing heavy rain, snowfall in the Sierra, and powerful winds. This comes just days after a bomb cyclone pummeled the state, causing widespread power outages and downing hundreds of trees with winds reaching up to 80 mph. Tornadoes also made a rare appearance in the Los Angeles Basin, and heavy snowfall in Southern California left some stranded on the roads. Arizona experienced severe flooding due to melting snow and rain, while Utah broke its snowpack record from over 40 years ago. Despite the much-needed respite that the region needs, a new storm is set to arrive next week, but there is some hope in the longer-range forecast. The storm is expected to arrive in Northern California on Monday afternoon, spreading into the rest of the region by nightfall, with the peak day on Tuesday, as rain, wind, and heavy Sierra snow continue to drench the area. Showers, thundershowers, and snow showers will persist throughout Wednesday and may linger in Utah and Arizona until Thursday.

The upcoming storm is expected to be colder with a weak to the moderate atmospheric river due to an upper-level system descending from the Gulf of Alaska. Potential impacts include locally heavy rain triggering flash flooding and landslides in California's coastal ranges and foothills, and multiple feet of snowfall in the Sierra, Siskiyous, and Southern California's highest elevations. Moderate snowfall is also possible in Utah and Idaho. Strong wind gusts could down trees and cause power outages, especially with the already-soaked ground. Additionally, isolated thunderstorms with hail and possible tornadoes are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday. Looking ahead, the Climate Prediction Center predicts a drier-than-average April for much of California and the Desert Southwest, as the region nears the end of its wet season. The typical peak of California's snowpack occurs around April 1, and San Francisco's wet season usually ends with only 2.5 inches of rain in an average spring. While flood concerns persist, there is hope that this last storm will mark the end of a very wet month-long period.

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