Late-week storm to deliver critical rainfall to California

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By Renee Duff for AccuWeather.com

Rain will douse California late this week, with the potential for some rain to reach southern portions of the state.

While the rain will be beneficial in terms of the drought, enough rain can fall to cause travel disruptions and localized flash flooding from Thursday to Friday.

More than 40 percent of California is dealing with extreme to exceptional drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor released on Oct. 20.

Incredible images of El Nino storms in California

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California El Nino Storms

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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On Sunday, the city of Victorville, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, received rain for the first time since April 28, picking up 0.11 of an inch.

The bulk of the wet weather will remain focused across the Pacific Northwest into midweek before the storm track shifts farther south during the second half of the week.

More from AccuWeather: Barrage of storms to aim for US West Coast this week

From Thursday into Friday, a storm will spread rain inland across northern and central California, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde said.

The heaviest rain is expected to fall across northern and central California, including in San Francisco and Sacramento.

The rain may also spread across areas that have largely been missed by the recent Pacific storms, including in Fresno and potentially as far south as Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

"Rainfall amounts will vary widely, but rainfall totals are expected to range between 0.50 and 2 inches," Rinde said.

Higher amounts are possible, especially across the Sierra.

In Southern California, rainfall totals are forecast to be less than half an inch.

"Should tropical moisture become involved, there is the potential for a greater amount of rainfall that could last beyond the end of the week, especially in Southern California," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Moisture from Seymour, currently a major hurricane south of Baja California, Mexico, could be drawn northward late in the week and into the weekend.

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Too much rain could fall in a short amount of time, leading to localized incidents of flash flooding, Rinde said.

Land that has been burned from wildfires over the summer will be most susceptible to flash flooding and possible mudslides.

Portions of interstates 5, 10, 15, 40 and 80 may be slower than normal for a time from the downpours.

"Any substantial rain in central and Southern California could create slick conditions for travelers as the rain water mixes with the oil residue left behind during the dry summer months," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

This storm will not pack a lot of cold air, so snow levels throughout the event will generally stay above 9,000 feet.

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"Only the highest peaks across California will experience snow," Rinde said.

Beyond Friday, Southern California is expected to dry out for the weekend. However, wet weather may persist for at least part of the weekend across northern and central California as a new storm rolls onshore.

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