California is bracing for its heaviest rainfall since rains from rare Tropical Storm Hillary
The monster storm that caused a snow emergency in Anchorage, Alaska, last week is heading toward California to dump rain on the Golden State for days, the most since Tropical Storm Hillary.
The storm is heading from the Gulf of Alaska, where more than five feet of snow has fallen in less than a day on Thompson Pass.
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“Once the storm approaches the West Coast, the storm will be in no hurry to move further. Forecast models now show it could take until the end of the week for it to finally make its way to the western United States,” the Fox Forecast Center said.
“Although this mostly marine path may limit widespread impact rainfall, it will also lengthen the time period in which rainfall is expected,” meteorologists continued. “For cities across Northern California, this could be Tuesday through Saturday.”
San Francisco, Sacramento and Redding could see three straight days of rain. This will be the first time since May for those cities. The storm could have a tropical connection and head the Pineapple Express to the coast. This means heavy amounts of rain.
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“Large amounts of moisture will be pulled northward into the system,” the Western Weather and Extreme Water Center said in its forecast. “As the system advances onshore, at least one atmospheric river will develop and very likely bring widespread rain and snow to the West Coast and inland areas.”
West coast storm timing
The depression is drifting across the Pacific Ocean and off the coast of Northern California, isolating itself from the jet stream that will move it across the country.
Wednesday and Thursday
The low meanders off the coast, which is bounded by a high to the west. This could prepare the coast for at least three days of rain.
The biggest flood threat on Thursday comes after several days of rain that saturated the soil. Flash flooding will be possible from just north of San Francisco to just north of Los Angeles County.
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Thursday and Friday
“The storm could also bring some rain to Southern California late in the week, marking the first major source of rain in the densely populated region since Tropical Storm Hillary in August,” the Fox Forecast Center said.
The low will eventually push east toward the end of the work week.
“Now, notice that this is a low pressure system by Wednesday, which is still off the coast here, but it’s getting closer as we go through Thursday and into Friday,” meteorologist Hayley Meyer said. “Then the rain will start to move a little further out into the United States and into areas like Flagstaff, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Those are some of the locations that could see at least maybe a half inch to an inch in some of the lower locations of this system.”
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The Sierra Nevada mountain range is preparing to cope well with early season snow as well.
“The Sierra is likely to receive its first significant snowfall of the fall, but the forecast remains highly uncertain,” the Fox Forecast Center said. “It depends on how close the storm tracks are to the coast, with the closer track producing more snow while the farther westerly track may not produce much snow at all. At this point, it seems likely that there will be at least a foot across the higher peaks in the Southern Sierra.” “With the best chance of snow from Thursday until the end of the week.”
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San Francisco, usually happy to see rain, is a bit blue as it welcomes tens of thousands of visitors to the International Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit this week.