California braces for series of El Niño-fueled storms delivering rain, snow, heavy winds

California Braces for Series of El Niño-Related Storms

Bone-dry California is going to get drenched with rain — and a lot of it — as a series of dangerous and powerful storms sweep over the state this weekend.

While forecasters expected El Niño weather patterns to help mitigate California's drought, a month of dry, warm weather left them wondering if the weather phenomenon might not deliver the snow and rain they had anticipated.

But a cluster of storms that began Friday will pound the Golden State over the next couple of days, bringing snow to mountain regions and up to 10 inches of rain in some northern areas, said Weather Channel meteorologist Michael Palmer.

See photos from El Niño related storms in January:

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California El Nino Storms
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California braces for series of El Niño-fueled storms delivering rain, snow, heavy winds

In a photo provided by Mike Eliason, Bo Sailor of Goleta, Caif. watches as high surf crashes into the wall and spills onto Channel Drive in Montecito, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The ocean-water-quality advisory issued Thursday came as the latest storms moved east after pummeling the region with heavy rainfall. Bacteria levels can increase significantly during and after rainstorms as contaminants in the runoff enter the ocean via storm drains, creeks and rivers. (Mike Eliason via AP)

High surf batters the break wall at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Calif., Thursday morning, Jan. 7, 2016, as another powerful El Nino-driven storm lashed coastal areas of California on Thursday. The storm created waves that forecasters said could reach 16 feet while sending scattered thundershowers across inland areas. (Chuck Bennett/Daily Breeze via AP)

SANTA PAULA, CA - JANUARY 07: A rainbow fills the sky above the Thomas Aquinas College in the Topatopa Mountains near Santa Paula Thursday afternoon January 07, 2016 as the latest El Nino storm moves through Southern California with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SOLVANG, CA - DECEMBER 25: A full moon sets over a dry Santa Ynez River on December 25, 2016, in Solvang, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers and Mediterranean climate, the coastal regions of Santa Barbara have become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA - JANUARY 07: Bitelio Ramirez, 52, looks out over tons of trash and debris has piled up near the mouth of the Los Angeles River after two days of heavy rain fell in Southern California from El Nino generated storms. Two cranes were being used to lift out somewhere around 300 tons of trash, according to a worker on the scene. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
People stand near a sink hold caused from recent storms in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
SANTA PAULA, CA - JANUARY 07: A rainbow fills the sky in the Topatopa Mountains near Santa Paula Thursday afternoon January 07, 2016 as the latest El Nino storm moves through Southern California with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A restaurant entrance is mirrored by flood waters after heavy rains in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A City of San Diego crew member cleans up debris in a road after heavy storms and flooding in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
warning light stands submerged on the Camino de la Reina which is flooded by the San Diego River after heavy rains in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - JANUARY 06: Homes at Mondo's Beach between the Solimar and Faria Beach communities west of Ventura have their sea walls tested Wednesday morning, January 06, 2016, as the third storm this season's El Nino moves in with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA. -- TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2015 -- A front end loader and dump truck work to move beach sand to protect vulnerable areas from flooding in rainy weather during the first big storm in what is predicted to be a strong El Nino event in Southern California January 5, 2016. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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Parts of Northern California already picked up an inch of precipitation on Friday, and will see at least another inch before Monday as two storms pass through,Weather.com reported. A stretch of California's coast from Big Sur to the northern border was under flash flood warnings Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The heavy storms are expected to continue from central California northward to Washington state until Friday, and some areas could see up to 10 inches of rain by next weekend, Palmer said.

The downpours will likely be accompanied by heavy, damaging winds.

Meanwhile, elevations above 7,000 feet will accumulate about 3 feet of snow, while lower elevations -- where travel could be affected -- might also see snowfall, according to Weather.com.

While the rain and snow is needed in drought-stricken California, National Weather Service officials warned that the series of storms could cause coastal flooding and power outages. Trees, brittle from the drought, are at a high risk of toppling because of heavy winds, and areas burned by wildfires are susceptible to mudslides and rockslides, Weather.com reported.

Southern California won't be spared either. Los Angeles and San Diego will get about 1-3 inches of rain over the weekend, and coastal areas can expect flooding, damaging surf and high rip currents, according to Weather.com.

Surfer Pete Weafer told NBC San Diego that he tried taking his board out Friday in Pacific Beach, but conditions were already too choppy. He recommended that beginners stay out of the water this weekend.

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