By Jennifer McGraw

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The valley skies will soon be turning a different shade of gray. The thick, unhealthy smoke in the air is going to be washed away by rain due to hit our area the day before Thanksgiving.

“I heard there’s going to be a lot of rain,” said a man gearing up to drive to Washington to visit family.

Yes, that’s also traditionally the busiest travel day of the year, and it has some holiday drivers concerned.

“We are having a significant winter storm,” said Johnny Powell with the National Weather Service. “I am a little bit worried [about] going up into the mountains.”

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But nearly everyone agrees we need the rain. It’s been 214 days since any significant precipitation, a big factor in the rapid spread of the Camp Fire and other late-season wildland blazes.

“Paradise averages three times the amount of rain we do. We average close to 20 [inches]. They average close to 60 inches and they’ve had none either, so they’re way below,” Powell said.

Which begs the questions, will the smoke and ash falling on city streets cause problems for drivers? Powell says no. Not in Sacramento, but it can cause problems in the burn scar areas if the ash turns into mudslides.

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In the Sacramento region, oil on the streets and leaves will be the issue. City crews are clearing streets, but the first big rain could cause clogs.

“If you haven’t done it, you have one more day to get out there and make sure your drains are ok,” he said.

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Many people putting on a happy face knowing these smoky gray skies are finally going to clear up.

“They say 100 percent rain here, so I’m looking forward to it,” said one driver.

The valley can expect up to 2 inches beginning on Wednesday and up to 6 inches in Paradise.

Jennifer McGraw

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