A powerful storm system will slam into the West Coast early Tuesday morning, with the first rounds of rain arriving along the California Coast tonight.

Windswept rain will soak much of the West Coast, with showers expanding eastward into the Intermountain West.

The heaviest rain will target northern and central California, dousing the area with 2 to 4 inches of rain. Locally higher amounts topping half a foot of rain will inundate some. A high freezing level will confine snow to the high Sierra Nevada above 7000 feet, where snow will fall by the foot.

Travelers in the area will face a myriad of potential hindrances. Flooding problems could arise from the sudden rush of rainfall, with low lying and poor drainage areas especially susceptible.

windswept rain will reduce visibility, and gusty winds will augment the treacherous driving conditions.

On the other hand, the rain will come as a welcome relief to drought stricken California. A large portion of the Golden State has fallen into the grip of a severe drought. While chipping away at the drought, the wet weather will also aid in the prevention and containment of wildfires.

Story By AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Katie Storbeck.