Northern and central California could see rain and high winds for days
A series of storms will march through the western United States over the next five days with another strong storm on Monday and Tuesday, forecasters warn. And the pattern could last until mid-January.
“Ultimately, we are looking at several inches of additional precipitation through the middle of next week with moderate to high confidence of even more rain through the middle of the month,” according to forecasters from the area office. San Francisco Bay from the National Weather Service.
“Additional rounds of heavy rain with significant runoff issues will likely persist through early next week in a dangerously wet pattern with multiple atmospheric rivers,” said National Weather Prediction Center meteorologists.
Here’s a day-to-day breakdown of what’s expected and where.
An atmospheric river continues to pour moisture over California on Thursday, but is expected to weaken as the day progresses.
“Coastal areas of California and the Sacramento Valley are most at risk,” forecasters at the Prediction Center said early Thursday morning.
These forecasters warned that rain rates of more than an inch per hour could produce a rapid rise in water in rivers and streams and create mudslides or rockslides.
Individual rainstorms are expected to be patchy, but wherever heavy rain falls it could lead to flooding as the ground can be oversaturated – like a sponge that is soaked through and cannot absorb more water.
Those saturated soils, combined with 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts expected Thursday, can make trees more susceptible to being knocked down.
In the mountains above 5,000 feet in northern and central California, snow will continue to fall at rates of over three inches per hour at times, creating dangerous travel conditions.
Things should calm down by Thursday evening when most of the heavy rains will end. But the reprieve will be brief.
Much of California is expected to enjoy a Friday break from rainfall as the moisture flow moves into southwestern Oregon and northern California on Friday.
“Maximum precipitation in the Northern California Coast Mountains could exceed four inches during this time through very late Friday evening,” forecasters at the forecast center said.
Widespread precipitation and high-altitude snow are expected to return to most of California on Saturday. Southern California may escape with another day without precipitation.
Moisture is expected to slowly drift across California during the day, with the heaviest precipitation primarily over central and northern California.
The first flurry of rain is expected in the morning, with more rain inland toward Sacramento and the Sacramento Valley. In the evening, another dose of heavy rain is expected further south over the Bay Area.
Things are starting to look bleak again in most of the state; even Southern California is most likely picking up moisture.
“The storm’s door will remain open this weekend through the end of next week,” forecasters from the Weather Service’s Los Angeles office said.
The biggest areas of concern for excessive rainfall are still limited to northern California. But that changes on Monday.
Monday will likely see another strong atmospheric river develop which will again provide widespread moderate to heavy rain, strong southerly winds and heavy snow at higher elevations.
The moisture plume will move over the Bay Area first during the day.
It’s a little early to know exactly how much rain will fall with this robust storm system on Monday, but forecasters at the Forecast Center said in their extended outlook, “look for several inches over a wide area of northern and central California “.
“The cumulative effects of repeated cycles of moderate to heavy rainfall from previous storms may result in a higher potential for more widespread flooding with increasingly severe impacts with this storm,” the Sacramento Weather Bureau said Thursday.
From Monday evening through Tuesday, the heavier moisture plume is expected to move south over the Los Angeles area.
“It’s still early and the forecast could change,” the Los Angeles-based forecasters warned.
There is no big news in the forecast. It looks like the storms will experience a brief lull, but forecasters believe another moderate to strong atmospheric river could be aimed at the west coast next Thursday.
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