California faces renewed weather storms next week
Angels – With California finally getting a sunny weekend to shake off and clean up from the record rains and deadly storms earlier this week, long-range weather forecasts show a renewed threat of flooding as the weather pattern returns later this week.
California will still have a break from the weather through the work week, but a series of weather storms are once again lined up to push through the Golden State starting next weekend and possibly continuing into the following week. Each storm could bring heavy rain and high winds to California, with heavy snow falling at higher elevations from February 17 to 21, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.
Forecasters at CPC say there is at least a 60% chance of dangerously heavy rains across much of California during this time frame, extending from its northern and southern borders. A moderate risk of 40-60% for hazardous rainfall amounts is spread along the eastern deserts of California into Arizona.
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See the devastation caused by an atmospheric river bombarding California
With storms still several days away, it is too early to pinpoint timing and predict mountain rainfall/snowfall amounts, but the state is particularly vulnerable to any substantial storms at this time.
“There is a high risk of flooding across much of California, especially in areas with saturated soil due to heavy rainfall earlier in February,” the EPA wrote in a key message statement on Friday. “Shallow landslides and rock falls are always possible in California during periods of heavy winter rainfall. Outdoor activities and travel may be negatively affected by unstable weather.”
Strong winds hit a tree at a Sacramento home
Los Angeles received just over 9 inches of rain when two atmospheric rivers swept through the area earlier this month — about 60% of the city’s average annual rainfall. More than 500 mudslides covered Los Angeles area roads, and dozens of homes were damaged.
The San Francisco Bay Area lost power to hundreds of thousands due to high winds, and many people in Northern California were killed by falling trees.
In all, 12 people have died in California due to weather-related events since the storm pattern began in late January.
The El Niño phenomenon is still going strong… for now
The storms have been a calling card for the “super” El Niño pattern that persists through the winter. This is only the sixth time since 1950 that an El Niño has reached this strength, which is defined when water temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean reach at least 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.
The arrival of the rare “super” El Niño phenomenon, but the beginning of the rapid collapse with the issuance of the “La Niña” watch.
El Niño patterns tend to activate the southern jet stream, funneling powerful storms across the Pacific Ocean into California, and this El Niño was no different. El Niño will likely disappear soon, but now may not be the time to take the rain pattern away from California this winter.