Rain to Arrive in Southern California this Week

Rain to Arrive in Southern California this Week

CALIFORNIA - If you’ve been in California this week, you know it's been HOT. Now, forecasters are warning that Southern California could also be hit by rain and thunderstorms as soon as this afternoon.

Rain in Southern California from July 18. Photo credited to Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times.

Through the weekend, temperatures are expected to continue between the 90s and 100s, along with a major rise in humidity, the National Weather Service reports. Meanwhile, thunderstorms will be developing over the mountains, deserts, and interior valleys, with some coast and coastal valley locations seeing some of the action.

"Any storms that develop by Thursday will be capable of producing heavy downpours, dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning, strong gusty winds, and flash flooding," said the National Weather Service.

The rainfall, however, is not expected to put a substantial dent in the drought, however, said Chris Hintz, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “Initially, the thunderstorms will probably not produce a lot of rain,” he said. “They will mainly be isolated and over the mountains. They could produce more fires because of the lightning.”

Many climatologists believe this rain is a direct result of this year’s El Niño conditions, which, according to the National Weather Service’s North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecast, has a greater-than-95-percent chance of a being “strong,” and a greater-than-60-percent chance of the strongest El Niño in recorded North American history.

Sea Surface Temperatures from 1997, when rain reached Northern CA, to now.

For the long-term forecast of this season, experts say there's a 50% chance of a wetter-than-average rainy season for the Northern half of the state, where much of the state's water supply is collected. California will need both rain and snow there to have a major effect on the drought.

A typical El Niño generally dumps heavy rain only on Southern California. But the most powerful El Niños on record, 1982-83 and 1997-98, were strong enough to send dramatic storms over Northern California as well.