Welcome rain reaches US West Coast; Northern California wildfire relief to last through thursday
The arrival of rainfall across the West Coast will bring some relief for firefighters battling wildfires as well as the ongoing drought.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde, "As one area of low pressure exited the Northwest, another will move in on Wednesday with rain spreading from San Francisco to Seattle."
Welcome rainfall will fall in cities such as Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; Portland, Salem and Medford, Oregon; and Eureka and Redding, California.
Rain will even make it into Sacramento and San Francisco.
"The steadiest and heaviest rain will fall in northern California into southern Oregon," Rinde said.
Rainfall is not expected to be as much as what was observed in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Over 2 inches of rain fell in parts of the area, the most in a single day in over four years.
See images of West Coast rainfall:
Those heading home from work on Interstate 5 between Seattle and Sacramento will deal with wet roads for the afternoon rush hour.
Know when the rain will hit by using AccuWeather Minutecast®. It has the minute-by-minute forecast for your exact location. Type your city name, select Minutecast®, and input your street address. On mobile, you can also use your GPS location.
By Thursday, spotty showers will be confined to mainly Oregon and Washington while most of northern California will be dry.
Much of western Washington, Oregon and northwestern California remain in a severe drought, while eastern Washington and Oregon are under an extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Chyna Glenn, "With close to 60 percent of the West currently under at least a moderate drought, this rainfall will not only aid firefighters in their efforts to get the fires under control, but also provide some relief for the devastating drought."
Due to some rain and lower temperatures so far this week, progress has been made on some of the major fires burning across California, including the Valley and Butte fires.
"Crews have made continued good progress on several fires burning in California. A little bit of rain has helped along with cooler temperatures and higher humidity," an official with Cal Fire said during a fire situation report on Tuesday afternoon.
The Valley Fire, located north of San Francisco, has burned over 67,000 acres, but is now 30 percent contained as of Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire.
There are five other fires burning across northwestern California, according to Cal Fire, which will also receive beneficial rain into Thursday.
Wildfires also continue to burn across the Northwest in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana, according to the USDA Forest Service.
While this rain will bring some relief to the wildfire containment efforts, the effects will not always be positive.
"Anytime a cold front pushes through the West during the fire season, problems ensue," AccuWeather Meteorologist and firefighter Evan Duffey said.
Duffey noted that cold fronts usually bring stronger and sometimes unpredictable winds that could rapidly spread fire, making it hard for incident managers to position teams.
"If it stays windy this week with only a shower, the net of the situation will be more negative than positive," said Duffey.
A warmup is expected into the weekend as temperatures climb to above-average across much of the West Coast, along with mainly dry conditions.
Following a warm and mainly dry weekend, rainfall may return to part of the West next week.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "Tropical moisture may be drawn into Southern California and the Southwest states during Monday night into Thursday."
The anticipated return of wet weather will bring the potential for both dangerous flash flooding and beneficial rainfall, Sosnowski stated.
More from AccuWeather:
Northwest Interactive Radar
Photos and the Latest Information on the Valley Fire
Serious Health Concerns Arise From Wildfire Smoke in West