California storm Easter weekend
California storm Easter weekend

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  • A storm system is heading toward California and the Southwest.
  • This will arrive in Northern California on Friday.
  • Southern California will be drenched by Saturday.
  • Localized flash floods, landslides and mudslides are possible.
  • Heavy snow will blanket the high Sierra and Southern California.

California will be drenched by a slow-moving storm on Friday over the Easter holiday weekend with locally flooding rain and heavy mountain snow from the Sierra to the Los Angeles basin.

First there is a weaker system: Before the holiday weekend storm arrives, a weaker Pacific cold front will bring moderate rainfall and up to a foot of snow to northern California and the northern Sierra through Thursday.

Other than a snowy, slick ride over the Sierras, we don’t expect any other significant impacts from this first system.

(Enhance your forecast further with our detailed hourly breakdown for the next 8 days – available only on our Premium Pro experience.)

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Time of next storm: On Friday, rain, possibly heavy, will spread across Northern California, with heavy snow in the Sierra. By Friday night, that rain will spread across parts of Southern California.

On Saturday, rain and mountain snow will affect all of Southern California, while rain and mountain snow will continue in Northern California.

On Sunday, rain and mountain snow, perhaps a few thunderstorms will linger over Southern California while precipitation tapers off over Northern California.

You can see the weather in the sequence of forecast maps below.

(For even more detailed weather tracking in your area, see your 15-minute detailed forecast in our Premium Pro experience.)

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How much rain and snow: This storm is gone have a long column of deep moisture known as an atmospheric river. So it will be a moderate storm.

Much of the state, from the Napa Valley to the Big Sur coast to the Los Angeles Basin, is expected to get an inch of rain from this storm. Locally higher amounts are possible in the Sierra foothills and southern California below snow level, as well as the Coast Ranges.

Overall, 1 to 2 feet of snow is expected in the Sierra, especially in the southern Sierra. Six inches to 2 feet of snow is also possible in Southern California’s mountains above 5,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

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Potential impacts: Given the moderate rainfall from this storm, we expect flash flooding and mudslides to be more localized than past atmospheric river events this season. Expect some scattered flash flooding in the usual trouble spots, especially in urban areas. Some mudslides and small debris flows are also possible.

Unlike the blizzard that started the month, the snow from this storm likely won’t cause extended closures of major routes through the Sierra, such as Interstate 80 or US 50. But expect a snowy commute through the weekend.

According to National Weather Service, snow may fall at elevations as high as 4,000 feet in Southern California. This could potentially affect Grapevine (Interstate 5) through the Tejon Pass from Saturday night into Sunday night.

Jonathan Erdman is a senior meteorologist at weather.com and has covered national and international weather since 1996. His love of meteorology began with a close encounter with a tornado as a child in Wisconsin. He studied physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then completed his master’s degree working with dual-polarization radar and lightning data at Colorado State University. Extreme and strange weather are his favorite subjects. Turn to him X (formerly Twitter), threads, Facebook and Blue sky.

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