(NEXSTAR) – The start of spring in California is looking a lot like it has all winter: rain, rain and more rain. The 12th atmospheric river of the year is poised to hit the state this week, bringing heavy precipitation and strong winds.
Rain is forecast to start late Monday night and continue through Wednesday afternoon, but the heaviest rain is expected to fall Tuesday morning and afternoon, according to the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office.
A graphic (below) from the National Weather Service’s Los Angeles office further breaks down storm timing in Southern California. The heaviest rain for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles is expected to start Tuesday morning and continue overnight into Wednesday.
Most communities are expected to get between 1 and 3 inches of rain, but mountain and hill areas could see as much as 4 inches. Thunderstorms are possible Tuesday afternoon and evening.
The whole state is likely to see at least some rain, but the biggest area of concern with this storm, National Weather Service forecasters say, is the Central California coast. The Santa Cruz Mountains and Big Sur coastal areas could get 2.5 inches of rain, while the Santa Lucia Range may get up to 3.5 inches.
Monterey and San Benito counties could also see wind gusts up to 50 mph.
The heaviest precipitation is expected along the coast, but even inland and desert communities are likely to see some sprinkles.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Nevada and surrounding cities are under a mix of Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Storm Watches this week. Up to 4 feet of snow could fall at high altitudes (above 6,000 feet), and wind gusts are expected to be between 60 and 80 mph.