The western United States is bracing for the impact of a major winter storm expected to arrive Monday, causing difficulties for travelers, the threat of flooding and some relief in an unusually warm fall.

Light rain and snow were reported Sunday in Northern California, giving residents a taste of what lies ahead. The storm, which is expected to last for several days, could drop more than 8 feet of snow at the highest peaks and drench other parts of California as it moves south and west before leaving the state for mid week.

“It’s a pretty widespread event,” said Anna Wanless of the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “Most of California, if not all, will have some kind of rain and snow.”

The precipitation will give at least temporary relief to an entire region that has been beset by a drought caused by climate change. The most recent monitoring of the drought in the United States shows that parts of Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah will be affected by an exceptional drought, the worst category.

Most of the water reservoirs that supply water to states, cities, tribes, farmers, and utilities depend on snowmelt in the spring.

This week’s storm is typical for this time of year, but notable because it is the first major snowfall that is expected to significantly affect travel due to ice and snow on roads, strong winds and limited visibility, Wanless said. . Drivers on some roads through the mountains had to put chains on their tires on Sunday.

The authorities urged the population to postpone trips and stay indoors. The rains could cause small floods and landslides, especially in areas that have been affected by forest fires, according to the forecast.

The San Bernardino County Police Department issued evacuation orders for several areas, citing the possibility of flooding. Los Angeles County fire officials asked residents to be alert to the possibility of mudflows.

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