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Dramatic Changes Headed to California Tuesday

February 18, 2013; 12:40 AM

The cooler air that invaded the California coastline Sunday is only the beginning of dramatic changes in the weather for California this week.

The entire state will turn even cooler as a potent storm system drops southward along the West Coast Monday night through Tuesday, bringing rain to the valleys and dropping snow levels in the mountains.

Rain will first develop along the coast of the Pacific Northwest late in the afternoon Monday into Monday night with some light snow expected for interior Washington and Oregon.

This storm will gather additional moisture as it quickly drops southward into northern California by Tuesday morning.

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Rain will spread into Crescent City, Eureka and even San Francisco by the midday hours on Tuesday as snow levels drop to around 2,500 feet in the Sierra Nevada Range.

Some rain will even make it to Fresno and Los Angeles by the afternoon hours, which could lead to some slick travel by the evening commute.

Steady rain could fall for a time Tuesday afternoon and evening in Los Angeles and San Diego with potential accumulations from one-fourth to half of an inch.

AccuWeather.com Western Expert Ken Clark said if the wind trajectory sets up correctly, there is the possibility for up to an inch of rain across some portions of Southern California with this storm.

Snow levels will also drop in the mountains outside of Los Angeles to below 3,000 feet, which could lead to travel slowdowns along the Grapevine north of the city.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologists are also concerned that there is enough cold air associated with this storm to generate a few thunderstorms across southern California Tuesday evening.

Any storms that do form could produce small hail.

This storm will quickly eject into the Four Corners by Wednesday morning bringing rain and low snow levels to Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.

This system will eventually fuel an even bigger storm over the Plains by the end of next week with rain, snow, and even some near-blizzard conditions.

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