Forecasters have warned that a series of storms will parade across the western United States over the next five days, with another severe storm expected on Monday and Tuesday. And the pattern may continue till mid-January.
“When all is said and done, we’re looking at several inches of rain through the middle of next week, with medium to high confidence of even more rain through mid-month,” according to predictions San Francisco Bay Area Office of the National Weather Service.
“Additional rounds of heavy rainfall with substantial runoff issues in a dangerously wet pattern with several atmospheric rivers are likely to continue into early next week,” meteorologists at the National Weather Prediction Center said.
Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of what to expect and where.
An atmospheric river continues to flow moisture into California on Thursday but is forecast to weaken as the day progresses.
“California’s coastal regions and the Sacramento Valley are most at risk,” forecasters at the Prediction Center said Thursday morning.
These forecasters warned that rain rates of more than an inch per hour could produce rapidly rising water in rivers and streams, and create mud or rock slides.
Isolated rain storms are expected to be spotty, but anywhere heavy rain falls can cause flooding because the ground can become oversaturated – like a sponge that is soaked and cannot absorb more water.
These saturated soils, combined with wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour expected on Thursday, could make trees susceptible to being blown over.
In the mountains above 5,000 feet in northern and central California, snow will continue to fall at rates in excess of three inches per hour at times, creating dangerous travel conditions.
Conditions should return to normal by Thursday evening, when most of the heavy rainfall will abate. But the respite would be brief.
A respite from rain is expected across much of California as a stream of moisture moves into southwestern Oregon and northern California on Friday.
“Extreme rainfall amounts could exceed four inches in the Coastal Mountains of northern California during this period through late Friday night,” Forecasters at the Prediction Center said,
Widespread precipitation and higher-elevation snow are expected on Saturday across much of California. Southern California may survive another day without precipitation.
Moisture should slowly move down through California during the day with heavy showers over central and northern California.
The first showers of rain are expected in the morning with more rain inland toward Sacramento and the Sacramento Valley. By evening, another dose of heavy rain is expected south of the Bay Area.
Things are starting to look bleak again in most parts of the state; Even in Southern California, moisture is likely to return.
“The storm door will be wide open this weekend through the end of next week,” forecaster Los Angeles Office of the Weather Service Told.
The biggest area of concern for extreme rainfall is still confined to northern California. But that changes on Monday.
Monday will likely see another strong atmospheric river develop, once again providing widespread moderate to heavy rain, strong southerly winds and heavy snow at higher elevations.
During the day, the cloud of moisture will first pass over the Bay Area.
It’s a little too early to know how much rain will fall with this strong storm system on Monday, but “look for several inches across a wide area of northern and central California,” forecasters at the Prediction Center said in their extended outlook.
“The cumulative effects of repeated moderate to heavy rainfall from previous storms could lead to a higher likelihood of more widespread flooding with increasingly severe impacts from this storm,” The Sacramento Weather Office said Thursday,
From Monday night into Tuesday, a heavy plume of moisture is expected to move south of the Los Angeles area.
“It’s still early and the forecast could change,” warned the Los Angeles-based forecasters.
There is no good news in the forecasts. It looks like the storm will calm down for a while, but forecasters believe another moderate to strong atmospheric swell could hit the West Coast next Thursday.
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