Weekend rains may be more than predicted
STATE COLLEGE, PA.
February 16, 2017
• Southern California may see a lot of rain
• Some low-land flooding expected
A new series of storms has arrived along the Pacific coast, and a potent one is set to hit California hard with heavy rain, mountain snow and strong winds during the latter part of this week, says the private weather forecasting company AccuWeather Inc.
"The late-week storm has the potential to be the biggest of the winter in terms of rainfall and impact to much of Southern California," says AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews.
The storm will bring enough rain and excess runoff to cause flash flooding, which can cause major delays for motorists. Along with the heavy rain will be the potential for mudslides in some neighborhoods, especially in recent burn scar locations.
"We expect 3 to 6 inches of rain to fall in the lowlands along the coast and over the Los Angeles basin," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark. "From 6 to 12 inches of rain is likely below snow levels in the mountains, especially along the south-facing slopes."
In the Los Angeles area, much of this rain may fall in 24 hours from early Friday morning through Friday night. In San Diego, the heaviest rain will fall Friday evening into Saturday morning.
That much rain in such a short period of time could lead to some roads becoming impassable for a while.
"From Los Angeles to Santa Barbara County, this storm will bring a widespread and significant flood threat," Mr. Clark says.
The combination of heavy rain, a low cloud ceiling and gusty winds will also lead to airline delays, AccuWeather says.
As the ground becomes soggy again, gusty winds will raise the risk of fallen trees and sporadic power outages.
Snow levels will remain well above the passes in Southern California. However, those venturing over Donner Pass are likely to encounter slippery conditions. The ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada will likely receive 1 to 2 feet of snow fro the storm.
In the wake of the big rain through Friday night, spottier showers will continue to dampen the region on Saturday and Saturday night.
The rain will fall in a hurry over the deserts. Normally dry stream beds can quickly fill with water. Motorists should be prepared for flash flooding in cities such as Palm Springs, California, Las Vegas and Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona.
Another storm will roll ashore from the Pacific during Sunday night. However, most effects from the storm will be focused from Northern California to Washington during the first half of next week.
As a result of the ongoing storms, more challenges are ahead for crews, officials residents in the Oroville area, AccuWeather says. Damage to the spillway at the Oroville Dam forced evacuations earlier this week. Rainfall from the storms through Friday have the potential to aggravate the situation around Oroville and other reservoirs filled to capacity in Northern California.
Additional rainfall will force officials to release more water downstream. Some of these rivers are already at flood stage.
The rainfall to end this week will take another big chunk out of the drought over Southern California, AccuWeather predicts.
Total rainfall since Dec. 1 over much of Southern California has ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 times that of average.
While less than 1 percent of the state remained in extreme drought as of last week, much of the region remained in moderate to severe long-term drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor.