Northern California and at least part of the Central Valley are predicted to get an inch to several inches of rain between Thursday and Monday, forecasts say. For many parts of the area, it will be the first measurable rainfall since Dec. 24, 2014.
What’s called an “atmospheric river” of moisture is expected to give California a glancing blow. But even that may be enough to cause localized flooding.
Here is a NASA animation:
But snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, critical to long-term water supplies for the state, is not expected to be great and mainly above the 6,000-foot level.
Meanwhile, hopes that a major El Nino weather event with torrents of rain and massive snowfall seem to be fading.
“During the last couple of weeks of January, several aspects of the tropical Pacific atmosphere showed some movement toward El Niño,” says a report Thursday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.
“However, for the month as a whole, the equatorial low-level winds were mostly near average across the Pacific, while upper-level easterly anomalies continued in the east-central Pacific,” it says.
Still, the scientists give a 50 percent to 60 percent chance for an El Nino to yet develop.