Californians to face relentless wet, snowy weather through the week
Dry weather will be rare in California in the coming days, with an onslaught of storms expected to keep rain and mountain snow around through at least the middle of the week.
"The cumulative nature of the storms has the potential to bring well over a foot of rain to the west- and southwest-facing slopes of the Coast Ranges and at least a couple of yards of snow to the high country of the central and southern Sierra Nevada into Friday," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"As the pattern evolves and the storms hit with additional moisture, dangerous, damaging and life-threatening situations may arise due to the magnitude of flooding and mudslides unleashed," Sosnowski said. "This type of situation could escalate quickly."
One storm brought rain to coastal areas of Southern and Central California to start the weekend.
While Los Angeles has received around 0.75 of an inch of rain from this storm, it is not expected to be the heaviest rainfall of the week.
Regardless, one person was killed in a multi-vehicle crash on the rain-slicked 101 Freeway on Saturday morning. The six-vehicle accident occurred in Hollywood Hills, according to KABC.
#abc7trafficalert A fatal accident is causing a major backup on the 101 in both directions through Universal City. #latraffic #trafficalert #traffic #abc7eyewitness @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/nuZZGL1ch7 — Kimi Evans (@abc7kimi) January 12, 2019
All three of the main systems moving into the West Coast this weekend and early next week are expected to bring periods of heavy rain to coastal Southern California.
As with recent storms, flash flooding, mudslides and resulting travel delays can be expected. While a strong wind event is not in the works, periods of gusty winds could lead to downed trees and some property damage.
California Department of Transportation is warning motorists that the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) may be shut down at anytime due to the risk of flooding and mudslides around the Woolsey Fire burn area in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
By Sunday night, a second system is on track to move into the state. This one will follow a similar track, mainly impacting central and southern portions of the state.
While the first storm had a tough time moving far enough inland to reach the higher terrain of the Sierra, "the storm on Sunday through Tuesday will be strong enough to bring heavy snowfall into the Sierra Mountains," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Edwards.
Overnight Sunday and throughout the day on Monday, the Los Angeles area could receive another 0.75 of an inch of rain.
"This rainfall can lead to mudslides and localized flash flooding, especially around burn scar areas," Edwards warned.
Coastal roadways from San Diego through Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Jose and San Francisco could face major delays or close altogether as a result.
Another storm is expected to roll onshore during the middle of the week. This storm is expected to impact the entire span of California and deliver another heavy dose of snow to the Sierra Nevada.
"This additional snowfall will be beneficial for the ski resorts up in the mountains," Edwards said.
Vehicle restrictions are likely in high-elevation passes, so anyone planning travel through the Sierra should check their route and road conditions before heading out.
In terms of travel over the mountains in Southern California, freezing levels are forecast to remain above Cajon and Tejon passes through most of the week.
Standing water and low visibility during rainy weather can lead to slick roadways and slowed traffic, which will impact the commute on a nearly daily basis.
Download the free AccuWeather app to keep track of when rain is expected to impact your area.