Rainstorms to soak California, ease wildfire concerns into next week

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By Alex Sosnowski for AccuWeather.com

As many as three storms will roll in from the Pacific Ocean and bring rounds of soaking rain and high-country snow to California into early next week.

The first storm will overspread much of the state through Friday, followed by a second storm Saturday night and Sunday, then a third storm on Tuesday.

Related: The worst of California's drought

22 PHOTOS
The worst of the California drought's 5 years (BI)
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The worst of the California drought's 5 years (BI)

Reservoir banks that were once underwater at Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River in Friant, a town just north of Fresno in California's Central Valley.

Reservoir banks that used to be underwater are seen at Millerton Lake, on the San Joaquin River, in Friant, California, United States May 6, 2015. California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Reservoir banks that used to be underwater at Millerton Lake on top of the Friant Dam.

Reservoir banks that used to be underwater are seen at Millerton Lake, on the top of the Friant Dam in Friant, California, United States May 6, 2015. California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A field of dead almond trees in Coalinga in the Central Valley. Almonds use an estimated 10% of the state's water budget.

A field of dead almond trees is seen in Coalinga in the Central Valley, California, United States May 6, 2015. Almonds, a major component of farming in California, use up some 10 percent of the state's water reserves according to some estimates. California ranks as the top farm state by annual value of agricultural products, most of which are produced in the Central Valley, the vast, fertile region stretching 450 miles (720 km) north-sound from Redding to Bakersfield. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. Urban users will be hardest hit, even though they account for only 20 percent of state water consumption, while the state's massive agricultural sector, which the Public Policy Institute of California says uses 80 percent of human-related consumption, has been exempted. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Boat docks that were once at the edge of the water on Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River in Friant.

Boat docks that used to be at the edge of the water are seen at Millerton Lake, on the San Joaquin River, in Friant, California, United States May 6, 2015. California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Reservoir banks that used to be underwater at Millerton Lake, on top of the Friant Dam.

Reservoir banks that used to be underwater are seen at Millerton Lake, on the top of the Friant Dam in Friant, California, United States May 6, 2015. California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A boat paddle at the bottom of the nearly dry Almaden Reservoir near San Jose.

A boat paddle is shown on the bottom of the nearly dry Almaden Reservoir near San Jose, California January 21, 2014. California Governor Jerry Brown last week declared a drought emergency, and the dry year of 2013 has left fresh water reservoirs with a fraction of their normal water reserves. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

A Lake Tahoe ski resort had far less snow than usual this season, as seen in this photo from March.

Skiers slalom through patches of dry ground at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, March 21, 2015 in Olympic Valley, California. Many Tahoe-area ski resorts have closed due to low snowfall as California's historic drought continues. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

A canal runs through dwindling farm fields in Los Banos.

A canal runs through farm fields in Los Banos, California, United States May 5, 2015. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. Urban users will be hardest hit, even though they account for only 20 percent of state water consumption, while the state's massive agricultural sector, which the Public Policy Institute of California says uses 80 percent of human-related consumption, has been exempted. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A view of Pine Flat Lake from an area that used to be underwater in Fresno County.

Pine Flat Lake is seen from an area that used to be underwater in Fresno County, California, United States May 6, 2015. California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A tractor collects golf balls on a parched driving range in Palm Springs. According to state regulations introduced May 5, communities like Palm Springs — where residents use more than 165 gallons of water per person per day — would have to cut back their use by 35%.

A tractor collects golf balls on a driving range in the Palm Springs area, California April 13, 2015. The average daily water usage per person in Palm Springs is 201 gallons, more than double the California average. California's cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules, the state's first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the state enters its fourth year of severe drought. Communities where residential customers use more than 165 gallons of water per person per day would have to cut back by 35 percent. Picture taken April 13, 2015. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A section of Lake Oroville was nearly dry in August, when it was at 32% of its total 3,537,577-acre-foot area.

A section of Lake Oroville is seen nearly dry on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State's lakes and reservoirs is reaching historic lows. Lake Oroville is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A skier approaches the edge of the snow at Lake Tahoe in March.

A skier makes their way past dry ground at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, March 21, 2015 in Olympic Valley, California. Many Tahoe-area ski resorts have closed due to low snowfall as California's historic drought continues. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

This Millerton Lake jetty, located on the San Joaquin River in Friant, used to be in the middle of the water.

A jetty that used to be in the water is seen leading out to the latest boat docks at Millerton Lake, on the San Joaquin River, in Friant, California, United States May 6, 2015. California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A farmworker walks through thirsty fields in Los Banos, an area of the San Joaquin Valley between Santa Cruz and Merced. On May 5, state water regulators adopted the first rules for mandatory urban water cutbacks. Farms, which account for 80% of the state's water consumption, were exempt from the law.

A worker walks through farm fields in Los Banos, California, United States, May 5, 2015. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. Urban users will be hardest hit, even though they account for only 20 percent of state water consumption, while the state's massive agricultural sector, which the Public Policy Institute of California says uses 80 percent of human-related consumption, has been exempted. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A canal runs through dried-up farm fields in Los Banos.

A canal runs through farm fields in Los Banos, California, United States May 5, 2015. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. Urban users will be hardest hit, even though they account for only 20 percent of state water consumption, while the state's massive agricultural sector, which the Public Policy Institute of California says uses 80 percent of human-related consumption, has been exempted. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Irrigation water runs along a dried-up ditch between rice farms to provide water for fields in Richvale, an agricultural town north of Sacramento.

In this May 1, 2014 photo, irrigation water runs along the dried-up ditch between the rice farms to provide water for the rice fields in Richvale, Calif. A federal agency said Friday it will not release water for most Central Valley farms this year, forcing farmers to continue to scramble for other sources or leave fields unplanted. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A parched water-storage facility near homes in La Quinta.

A water storage facility is seen near homes in La Quinta, California April 13, 2015. California's cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules, the state's first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the state enters its fourth year of severe drought. Communities where residential customers use more than 165 gallons of water per person per day would have to cut back by 35 percent. Picture taken April 13, 2015. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A dried-up canal runs through a lush green golf course in La Quinta.

A canal runs through a golf course in La Quinta in the Palm Springs area, California April 13, 2015. The average daily water usage per person in Palm Springs is 201 gallons, more than double the California average. California's cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules, the state's first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the state enters its fourth year of severe drought. Communities where residential customers use more than 165 gallons of water per person per day would have to cut back by 35 percent. Picture taken April 13, 2015. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Water pours into a dried-out canal in Los Banos.

Water pours into a canal in Los Banos, California, United States May 5, 2015. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. The emergency regulations, which require some communities to trim water use by as much as 36 percent, were approved unanimously late Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board weeks after Democratic Governor Jerry Brown stood in a drying mountain meadow and ordered statewide rationing. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Water flows into a dried-out lake on a golf course in La Quinta.

Water flows into a lake on a golf course in La Quinta, California April 13, 2015. California's cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules, the state's first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the state enters its fourth year of severe drought. Communities where residential customers use more than 165 gallons of water per person per day would have to cut back by 35 percent. Picture taken April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A parched aqueduct in Victorville, a city east of Los Angeles.

An aqueduct is seen in the desert in Victorville, California March 13, 2015. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

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The bulk of the rain will target central and northern areas of the state, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark.

Tropical Rainstorm Seymour, weakening in the East Pacific, will enhance rainfall across California into the weekend.

"However, some sporadic rainfall, even in the absence of Seymour is likely to reach Southern California, including the desert locations, as the pattern progresses," Clark said. "Some rain will also reach parched areas of Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Oregon."

While the rainfall from each storm will neither be huge nor break the back of the drought, cumulative moisture will ease wildfire concerns and put some runoff into streams and reservoirs.

"This series of storms can be very beneficial as the main reservoirs are in the northern half of the state," Clark said.

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Through Tuesday, rainfall will range from under 0.25 of an inch in the Mojave Desert to perhaps more than 8 inches in the Coastal Ranges and Sierra Nevada in the northern part of California.

Along with the benefits from the storms will come problems as well. The most far-reaching will be to hinder outdoor activities and cause travel delays.

The combination of water and buildup of oil on paved surfaces can make for extra slick conditions. Motorists should slow down on ramps and corners and allow extra stopping distance at intersections.

Where the rain falls at a fast pace, and the vehicles are traveling at high speed, the buildup of water can raise the risk of hydroplaning.

Mudslides can occur where heavy rain falls on the mountainsides and canyon walls. The greatest risk for flooding will exist in recent burn areas.

Flash flooding is possible along the normally dry streams and drainage basins in the southern part of the state with small stream flooding possible in central and northern areas.

Minor street flooding is possible during episodes of heavy rain including in San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Barbara and perhaps Los Angeles.

Related: Super Typhoon Meranti, strongest storm of the year, strikes

14 PHOTOS
Super Typhoon Meranti, strongest storm of the year, strikes
See Gallery
Super Typhoon Meranti, strongest storm of the year, strikes
A man stands in front of a damaged vehicle and convenience store after Typhoon Meranti made landfall, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Paramilitary policemen remove toppled trees after Typhoon Meranti swept through Xiamen, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
A damaged chimney is seen at a factory before Typhoon Meranti makes a landfall on southeastern China, in Quanzhou, Fujian province, China, September 14, 2016. Picture taken September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
Streets are seen flooded after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on southeastern China, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. Smudges in picture are caused by raindrops on the lens. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.??
People wade through a flooded street after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on southeastern China, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
A man rides through a flooded street after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on southeastern China, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
A car is seen under toppled trees after Typhoon Meranti swept through Xiamen, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
FUZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 15: A vehicle and a motorcycle amke their way through a flooded road after Typhoon Meranti hit on September 15, 2016 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China. Typhoon Meranti made landfall in Xiamen at 3:05 a.m on Thursday and caused damage in Fujian. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
A general view shows an overturned fishing boat in the aftermath of super typhoon Meranti, at Sizihwan in Kaohsiung on Sepember 15, 2016. Parts of Taiwan came to a standstill on September 14 as super typhoon Meranti brought the strongest winds in 21 years, while China issued a red alert for waves as the storm bore down on the mainland. / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
PINGTUNG, Sept. 14, 2016 -- Trees are broken by strong wind on a highway from Pingtung to Kenting in typhoon-hit Taiwan, southeast China, Sept. 14, 2016. Typhoon Meranti on Wednesday brought strong winds and heavy downpour to the island. (Xinhua via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A local resident removes a rock from a blocked road in southern Pingtung county as typhoon Meranti slash southern Taiwan on September 14, 2016. Parts of Taiwan were brought to a standstill on September 14, as the strongest typhoon of the year skirted past the island's southern tip, knocking out power for more than 180,000 households. / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
An advertisement board lies collapsed by the road as super typhoon Meranti skirts Pingtung county in southern Taiwan on September 14, 2016. Parts of Taiwan were brought to a standstill on September 14 as the strongest typhoon of the year skirted past the island's southern tip, knocking out power for more than 180,000 households. / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
FUJIAN, Sept. 14, 2016 -- Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2016 shows the gales and monster waves off the coast of Fuqing, southeast China's Fujian Province. China's National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center on Wednesday upgraded its warning for ocean waves triggered by Typhoon Meranti to 'red,' the highest of a four-color warning system. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan via Getty Images)
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Rain and wind from Seymour will rapidly diminish well southwest of California by this weekend. However, leftover moisture from Seymour can be drawn northeastward and potentially could enhance downpours in Southern California, Arizona and southern Nevada.

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In addition to rainfall, heavy snow is in store during part of the period over the high country in the Sierra Nevada, where a foot or two of snow can fall over the peaks and ridges.

Snow levels can dip down to Interstate 80 at Donner Pass, California, during Sunday and Sunday night. A few inches of snow and slippery travel can occur over the pass.

Swells generated by Seymour, once a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph, will reach the coast of Southern California in the form of large waves this weekend. The large swells could pose danger for surfers, bathers and boaters.

In the long term, rainfall is likely to be infrequent in Southern California this winter.

The first part of the winter holds the best chance of more rain and mountain snow events for northern areas, prior to expanding warm and dry conditions as the winter progresses, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

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