Moisture Surge Coming to an End in California, Setting Up Favorable Travel Conditions

Posted: November 18, 2023 1:09 pm

The moisture machine is finally coming to an end in California. It has been a soggy few days across the Golden State but drier days are on the horizon. Here is a look back at this week’s potent weather maker as well as a look at what you can expect in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nearly All of California Touched by Moisture in Some Form This Week

A powerful storm that came together in the Pacific Ocean brought intervals of rain and snow to much of California over the past few days. Northern California took the brunt of the rain with some places picking up over an inch of rain to start the week.

This mass of moisture expanded into Southern California on Wednesday, bringing some much-needed precipitation for this part of the state. Los Angeles picked up about a third of an inch of rain, bringing the nearly three-week stretch of dry weather to an end. Heavier rain came down farther inland with the San Gabriel Mountains recording rainfall in the range of 1.00 and 1.75 inches.

Heading south into San Diego County, the coastal region picked up just a trace of rain while the higher terrains hit about 1.50 inches of accumulation. While the city of San Diego only recorded about 0.14 of an inch of rain out of this system, it was still more moisture than it saw in both September and October.

The rain is making its way farther inland to start the weekend, bringing the best chances of more moisture to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. However, coastal Southern California’s upslope area may still see about an inch of rain on Saturday.

In addition to the lingering rain on Saturday, winds will continue to be an issue for some communities in California. The coastal areas of Central and Northern California are most likely to see this wind, presenting a threat for boaters in the region. You will want to check the local forecast in your area before heading out into the water on Saturday.

The persistent cloud cover will suppress temperatures this weekend. For instance, Los Angeles will remain in the mid 60s on Saturday while climbing to about 68 degrees on Sunday. Lingering rain showers in San Francisco on Saturday will keep the mercury hovering in the mid 60s. While the sun is forecast to come out on Sunday across the Bay Area, temperatures will remain in the low 60s in San Francisco.

Snowfall Predictions Remain Light

There is also the chance of more snow in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada on Saturday. Mammoth Lakes is forecast to see accumulations of about an inch during the day with another 1 to 3 inches on tap for the overnight hours. This mountain resort town will see the mercury hit about 40 degrees for a high before falling into the mid 20s overnight. It will also be windy in this area with winds out of the southwest at 10 to 20 mph that increase to 25 to 35 mph after the sun goes down.

While this surge of moisture has hampered outdoor activities throughout the state this week, the wet conditions have put the lid on the wildfire season. At this point, the higher elevations are welcoming any snow that will help to build the snowpack for the area ski resorts.

This current storm system is predicted to continue to move inland and into the Rocky Mountain region through the end of the weekend. Once it pushes to the east, a drier and calmer weather pattern will set up for most of the West Coast early next week. Cities such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco are not expected to see any major travel headaches in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Desert Southwest will also enjoy dry conditions that are conducive for Thanksgiving travel.

Snow Not Scarce in Alaska

While snow has been scarce thus far in California’s Sierra Nevada, it has been a different story much farther to the north in Alaska. The city of Anchorage might see its snowiest November on record thanks to a number of potent storm systems that have unleashed over this part of the West.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Anchorage has recorded about 38 inches of snow already this month. The all-time record for November in Anchorage is 38.8 inches, putting the city at less than one inch away from breaking this barrier.

At least four deaths in the homeless population have been blamed on the cold and snow. Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson declared a snow emergency last week in order to mobilize the resources needed to effectively clear the city streets.

The Anchorage School District also made the decision to switch to remote learning one day last week and another two days this week due to the heavy snow.

Did you find this content useful? Feel free to bookmark or to post to your timeline for reference later.