Southern Californians will get drenched this week with three storms before the weekend, the National Weather Service said Monday.
The first storm, which was expected to begin dousing the state tonight, will be followed by a stronger one Tuesday, which could bring thunderstorms, a flash-flood watch and high surf to local areas, according to the National Weather Service.
The third storm will be the weakest and should arrive Friday, said Weather Specialist Bonnie Bartling.
"The second one is going to be the strongest, if you want to call it strong," Bartling said. "But it's nothing compared to the last two rainmakers."
The first storm system moved into Northern California early Monday, blanketing Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley with rain. A flash-flood watch was issued due to possible mud and debris flows along Highway 1 and in the hills above Big Sur.
In Truckee, the California Highway Patrol reported snow along California 89 and warned drivers to use caution Monday.
The storms hitting this week resemble typical winter storms and will not be as windy, wet or dangerous as last week's storm, said meteorologist Eric Kurth of the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
When it arrives in Southern California later Monday, the first storm system is expected to bring one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain to Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo could see up to an inch of rain, said meteorologist John Dumas of the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Chilly weather will stick around for days as snow levels drop to 5,000 feet. Strong wind gusts will be felt in the mountains and could reach 40 mph.
The second storm, arriving Tuesday night, could bring more rain than the first. Forecasters expect an inch of precipitation on the coast and in the valleys and 2 inches of rain in the mountains and foothills.
Thunderstorms may also occur, which can increase the risk of waterspouts or small tornadoes, Dumas said. Forecasters may issue a flash-flood watch Tuesday night for burn areas in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
Surf as high as 8 feet is expected along southwest-facing beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Dumas said as the storm drops down from the Gulf of Alaska, it pulls in Pineapple Express-like subtropical moisture, bringing more rain to California.
Although there is still some risk of debris flows with these storms, Dumas said this week's weather will be nothing like last week's deluge, which caused flooding, power outages and destruction across the state.
Last week firefighters in Los Angeles rescued a couple from a rain-swollen river. The powerful storm also unleashed a small tornado in South Los Angeles, which tore the roof off a home.
And police in South Lake Tahoe said a boy believed to be missing was found dead under a tree that probably toppled during the storm.