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More Wintry Weather Wallops West

UPDATED 6:30 PM PST, December 22, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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While one storm cruises through the West another is right on its heels to end the weekend. The West will only catch a brief break early Christmas Day before an even stronger storm sets its sights on the Northwest Coast. The good news is the rain and snow is needed to help erase precipitation deficits.

Rain is charging across Interstate 5 from the San Joaquin Valley into western Washington while snow dumps on the Sierra, Cascades and northern Rockies tonight.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories continue from southern Oregon into the Sierra and across the northern Great Basin into the northern Rockies and Wasatch.

An additional 1 to 2 feet will fall in the Sierra above 3,500 feet with 3 to 6 inches above 2,000 feet in southern Oregon. One to 2 inches will coat northern Nevada with 2 to 3 inches expected in Idaho`s Snake River Valley through Monday.

A general swath of 1 to 2 inches of rain will pelt northern and central California Sunday with less than an inch farther north in places like Portland, Ore., and Seattle. Too much rain at once will result in rapidly rising rivers and possible flooding. A Flood Watch has been hoisted for the Navarro River in northern California.

Southeast winds will increase to 20 to 35 mph with gusts topping 50 mph on Sunday as the storm moves onshore. This could result in power outages across the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys where Wind Advisories have been posted.

By Christmas Eve, the storm will move into the Mountain West, bringing several inches of snow through the Wasatch and Rockies while the West Coast dries out. Hot on that storm`s heels though will be another potent cold front spreading rain and mountain snow from northern California into the Northwest and northern Rockies Christmas Day.

Parts of the Sierra are measuring snow in feet from recent storms. Above 7,000 feet at Mammoth Lakes, 2 feet of snow have fallen. Even a trace of snow tied a daily snowfall record in Eureka, Calif., today.

Meanwhile, more than an inch of rain has doused central California, including an Earth Networks station in Lafayette with 1.22 inches today while another station in San Rafael picked up 1.03 inches. San Francisco Airport picked up just over a half-inch, helping to ease the yearly rainfall deficit to just under one inch.

While coming at the expense of the holiday weekend, all this moisture will help combat existing drought conditions across California, the Great Basin and Mountain West.

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