Last atmospheric river brings rain and flood risk

Last atmospheric river brings rain and flood risk
Last atmospheric river brings rain and flood risk

An aerial photograph showing vehicles and homes on Saturday engulfed by floodwaters in Pajaro, California, where residents were forced to evacuate in the middle of the night after an atmospheric river surge broke the Pajaro levee and sent flood waters into the community. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California faced another atmospheric river event on Monday that forecasters say will bring heavy rain, significant flooding and mountain snow to much of the state through Wednesday – as officials continue of

until the last deadly storm.

The big picture: As rain fell over parts of northern and central California on Monday, officials warned that the latest atmospheric river could “pound” areas inundated by flooding from the previous storm. The National Weather Service (NWS) has upgraded its excessive precipitation forecast to “high risk,” the highest on its scale and a relatively rare designation.

  • “A patch of showers is approaching the Bay Area” Monday evening, “marking the start of our next atmospheric river event” which is expected to “bring widespread heavy rain to the region Tuesday through Wednesday morning,” according to a forecast. from the NWS discussion.

Threat level: The weather agency noted in an earlier discussion on Monday that the last atmospheric river had an unusually high amount of humidity associated with it and would remain stationed over the same areas for long periods of time.

  • “The environment will be very favorable for prolonged and terrain-enhanced rainfall along the central and southern coast and the Sierra foothills,” the NWS said. Forecasters have also warned of rapid snowmelt increasing water levels in rivers and streams.
  • One of the spots forecasters have been watching closely is Monterey County, where the California National Guard has been helping after the Pajaro River embankment broke early on Saturday.
  • National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Ayd told the Los Angeles Times “we have very saturated soils, which will make us even more prone to flooding.”
  • Damaging winds and power outages were likely, especially in central California. These winds were expected to be a bigger factor in this upcoming storm than the one that hit late last week.

State of play: Schools and local roads were

and evacuation And were in effect Monday for communities along Pajaro and due to the increase and the threat of further flooding.

  • Luis Alejo, chairman of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, On Monday night, an area of ​​a breach along the Pajaro Seawall “had grown from 120 to 400 feet wide,” but a temporary wall of rock and sand “will keep the breach from widening” and “ of water in the community of Pajaro.”
  • Steady rains along the Sacramento River saw water levels continue to rise on Sunday ahead of another rain forecast, as officials in Calaveras County, southeast of Sacramento, emergency road closure due to flooding.
  • In the Bay Area, there were several storm-related road closures and the Oakland Zoo it would close on Tuesday due to forecasts of heavy rain and wind.

In the meantime, the southern Sierra Nevada appears to have recorded its highest snowfall on record — more than 250% above its seasonal average, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

  • The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab Monday that an additional 13.2″ of snow had fallen in 24 hours, marking the “third snowiest winter on record” at the Sierra Nevada lab.
  • The lab has recorded 651″ since Oct. 1 and expects another 18-30″ of snow through Tuesday.
Photo: Daniel Swain, climatologist at UCLA/

What we are looking at: Where the heaviest rains settled Monday evening through Wednesday, which will determine the locations of the worst impacts.

  • Heavy rain and snow at high altitudes are expected to continue through Wednesday from this atmospheric “Pineapple Express” river.
  • The moisture for this particular storm comes from around Hawaii.

Context: Atmospheric rivers are powerful because the narrow currents in the air can carry vast amounts of water vapor thousands of miles from the tropics to mid- and northern latitudes – and they’ve whipped California more than a dozen miles opportunities this year.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new forecast details.



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. atmospheric river brings rain flood risk

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