Here’s How the Next Two Atmospheric Rivers Will Affect California - The World News

Here’s How the Next Two Atmospheric Rivers Will Affect California

Forecasters have warned California residents that unsettled weather between Tuesday and Thursday is likely to bring flooding rains, strong winds and mountain snow as another atmospheric river moves down along the West Coast. Another storm will threaten the region early next week.

“Use today to prepare for the widespread and impactful rainfall alongside strong and gusty winds coming Wednesday,” forecasters in the National Weather Service’s San Francisco Bay Area office wrote Tuesday morning.

Flooding concerns, like overwhelmed storm drains that can lead to road closures, will be widespread, and the heavy rain that falls could create localized areas of flash flooding, with urban areas, roads, small streams and burn scars the most vulnerable, forecasters said.

The storm is predicted to be a moderate atmospheric river, and nowhere near the strength of an “Ark storm,” as has been making the rounds on social media in the past few days. Nor is the forecast likely to be anywhere near as severe as the series of back-to-back storms last winter that led to widespread flooding and historic amounts of snow in the region.

This midweek storm, while still having the potential to produce flash flooding and heavy mountain snow, is expected to move quickly, which would reduce the amount of rain that falls over any one location.

A foot or more of snow is forecast over parts of Northern and Central California. The Sierra Nevada will get heavy snow from late Wednesday morning into Thursday.

  • Tuesday: Light rain will spread over the Pacific Northwest.

  • Wednesday: A more robust plume of moisture will move over California, with the heaviest rain falling over the northern Bay Area and the Sacramento area Wednesday afternoon before drifting farther south in the evening and overnight.

It is “increasingly likely” that another strong weather system and possibly a “significant atmospheric river event” will affect California late this weekend into early next week, forecasters with the Weather Prediction Center said Tuesday morning.

Despite many possible outcomes, the atmospheric river arriving Sunday into Monday has the potential to produce greater low-elevation rain and mountain snow totals than this week’s event.

A worst-case scenario would be if the storm system stalls off the coast, which could prolong the rain and snow. This scenario would bring a high risk of flooding and heavy mountain snow, forecasters in Los Angeles warned on Tuesday morning.

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