At Last, California Turns Colder And Wetter ! Rain, Snow Forecast
For much of this winter, California has been shut out of chances for needed rain and mountain snows. A shift in the jet stream configuration, however, will enable the Golden State to recharge soil moisture (which is in an extreme drought at the current time) and produce very heavy snow in many of the elevated locations near the coast and the High Sierra as well.
The disturbances responsible for this shift to chilly and often wet weather can be seen on GOES WEST satellite imagery over the Pacific Ocean. The first low pressure center will take a track into southern California by Saturday, replete with locally strong thunderstorms and mudslides. Snow levels may drop down below 3000 feet at night even in the towns close to San Diego, a far cry from a January that routinely produced daytime highs well in excess of 80 degrees (F). Another, perhaps stronger storm will follow, reaching the "Southland" by February 9. This feature should be moist and energetic enough to produce another 1 to 3 inches of precipitation on top of what falls later this week (see the attached GFS predicted rainfall total), creating more opportunities for travel disruption while also recharging the parched watersheds around California. While the western states will be colder over the next week or so, southwest flow ahead of the trough complex will allow for (you guessed it) some cases of record warmth east of the Rocky Mountains. That moderation may last until about February 12, when the low comes roaring out of the Intermountain Region, enabling what appears to be a shift to a long period of widespread cold temperatures across much of the U.S.