El Niño to Cause Storms Along the Pacific Coast Beginning Thursday

Source: AP
Source: AP

Thanks to El Niño, drought-plagued California is bracing for stormy weekend weather, the National Weather Service reported Thursday. The storm system is expected to touch down along the West Coast and will bring rain and snow to the region, which the NWS reported includes the Pacific Northwest. As the storm advances eastward, snow and moisture is expected to blanket the upper Mississippi Valley and the upper Great Lakes by Friday night.

"The system will produce rain from the Pacific Northwest to parts of central California on Thursday morning that will move eastward to parts of the northern Intermountain Region [and] northern Rockies producing snow at the highest elevations by Thursday evening," NWS said in a statement. "The rain will end over most of the northwest overnight Thursday while producing rain and snow over parts of the northern plains by Friday morning."

Read more: The California Drought Is So Bad Even El Niño-Caused Flash Flooding Isn't Enough

El Niño has made its presence known in California in recent months. In January, for instance, the climate cycle brought heavy rains and floods to the region, sending residents scrambling to prepare for a predicted 15 inches of snow — Orange County even voluntarily evacuated due to concerns of possible mudslides.

Despite that flooding, California continues to struggle with its drought. And by and large, El Niño hasn't done much to satiate the region's dry earth.

Speaking to the Associated Press, California Department of Water Resources climatologist Mike Anderson said the Golden State's going to need a lot more rain to recover from its dry months. "We're at least on a good trajectory," Anderson told the AP. "We've got to keep it going."

"We have to have the rain," Los Angeles resident Ed Heinlein recently told the Associated Press. "It's bad for us, but it's desperate for the state."

According to the NWS statement, California might be in luck. "Moisture ahead of the next pacific system will aid in producing rain over parts of the Pacific Northwest coast and into Northern California on Friday afternoon into Friday evening," said the organization in its Thursday statement.

Here's the NWS forecast:

Correction: March 3, 2016
A previous version of this story erroneously attributed reporting done by the Associated Press to ABC. Additionally, an earlier version of this story stated a January weather prediction for California included 15 inches of rain. Though AP originally reported 15 inches of rain, it corrected its stories in January to say the forecast was for 15 inches of snow.

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Liz Rowley

Liz is a staff writer at Mic, covering breaking news. She is based in New York and can be reached at lrowley@mic.com.

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