Much-needed rain coming for California as temperatures climb on the East Coast

Monday will feature a warm and dry East, a cool and stormy West and a showery and stormy midsection.
Image: The weather over the United States on early March 9, 2020.
The weather over the United States on early March 9, 2020.NOAA

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By Kathryn Prociv

Warmer weather across eastern parts of the U.S. are forecast for the beginning of the week, bringing a preview of spring for millions of Americans — and much-needed rain to California.

Temperatures will be 10-20 degrees above average from parts of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley into the Northeast. Temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s for cities including Washington and New York will make it feel more like May 9 than March 9.

But record highs are hard to beat this time of year, especially after a record-setting warm spell in 2016. However, spotty record highs are possible for cities like Bridgeport, Connecticut, and East Milton, Massachusetts. Monday will be the warmest day of the week, but temperatures east of the Rockies will remain above average through Thursday.

In contrast to the warm and dry East, the West is gearing up for a cool and stormy pattern for the first half of the week.

An atmospheric river will pump in much-needed moisture to a parched California that is in desperate need of rain and snow in the Sierra Mountains. Showers can be expected along the central and southern California coasts on Monday, with more rainfall and embedded thunderstorms arriving Tuesday.

Widespread rainfall amounts could be 0.5 to 2 inches, with some higher amounts locally of 3-5 inches, especially in the mountains. Some flash flooding, mudslides and landslides will be possible through Wednesday. This will be the most rain since December for Southern California.

Meanwhile, a weak storm system will cruise across the middle of the country on Monday, bringing some rain showers from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. A light wintry mix could fall along the Great Lakes, and some thunderstorms could get feisty with gusty winds across eastern Oklahoma, but otherwise minor travel delays will be the greatest impact.

The weather looks to have little impact on Tuesday's primaries, with most places forecast to have temperatures from the 40s to the 70s and little in the way of rain.

And in climate news, the U.S. just had its sixth-warmest winter on record, with the five warmest all occurring since 1990. Twenty-two states, most of them along the East Coast, had a top 10 warmest winter on record.