Forecasters warned California residents that unsettled weather between Tuesday and Thursday could bring flooding, strong winds and mountain snow as another atmospheric river moves up the West Coast. Another storm will threaten the region early next week.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service's San Francisco Bay Area office wrote Tuesday morning to “use today to prepare for widespread and damaging precipitation with strong and gusty winds coming Wednesday.”
Flooding concerns will be widespread, with excessive storm runoff leading to road closures, and heavy rain could create localized areas of localized flash flooding along urban areas, roads, creeks and burn scars, forecasters said.
The storm is predicted to be a mild atmospheric river and nowhere near the strength of an “ark storm.” It has been going viral on social media for the past few days. The forecast is nowhere near as severe as last winter's repeated storms, which led to widespread flooding and historic amounts of snow in the region.
Although this midweek storm has the potential to produce flash flooding and heavy mountain snow, it is expected to move quickly, reducing the amount of rainfall in any given location.
A foot or more of snow is forecast for parts of northern and central California. Heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada Wednesday morning through Thursday.
Here's what you need to know about timing.
Tuesday: Light rain will occur in the Pacific Northwest.
Wednesday: More strong moisture moves into California, bringing heavy rain to the northern Bay Area and Sacramento area Wednesday afternoon, before moving south in the evening and overnight.
The next atmospheric river will be stronger than this one.
Another strong weather system and a “significant atmospheric river event” are “highly likely” to affect California this weekend and early next week, forecasters at the Weather Forecast Center said Tuesday morning.
Despite the many possible outcomes, the atmospheric river that arrives Sunday through Monday has the potential to produce higher low-elevation rain and mountain snow totals than this week's event.
If the storm system stops along the coast, there will be a nasty situation where rain and snow will persist. Forecasters in Los Angeles warned Tuesday morning that the situation will bring an increased risk of flooding and heavy mountain snow.