‘Atmospheric River’ Threatens California With Flash Floods, Extra Snow

California is predicted to obtain extra snow later this week, seemingly bringing extra flooding to the state that has grappled with above-average rainfall all through this winter.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alan Reppert informed Newsweek on Monday afternoon that the “atmospheric river” will seemingly strike California’s northern and central areas on Friday. The storm may carry as much as 8 inches of rain to the Sierra Nevada mountain vary, bringing the chance of floods to a lot of the northern a part of the state, based on AccuWeather.

California, recognized for its dry circumstances, has skilled steady storms not too long ago, bringing a excessive quantity of precipitation that has precipitated substantial flooding and injury to the state’s infrastructure, whereas additionally assuaging a years-long drought.

This week’s anticipated flooding may have an effect on highly-populated coastal areas like Santa Barbara and San Francisco, in addition to probably the most northern components of the state, reminiscent of Redding. The storm carries the chance of mudslides, avalanches, and highway closures, based on AccuWeather.

Drivers go by means of the Sierra Pelona Mountains in Los Angeles County on February 25. After a number of storms struck California this winter, components of the state are forecasted to obtain much more snow later this week as an “atmospheric river” pummels the state.
Mario Tama/Getty Pictures

Some high-altitude areas of the Sierra Nevada mountain vary, above 7,500 toes, may additionally obtain a number of toes of recent snow, based on AccuWeather. In the meantime, areas additional south, together with Los Angeles and San Diego, are prone to obtain solely gentle rain.

Reppert warned that the rainfall will trigger flooding close to any rivers and streams, complicating journey for individuals who reside in these areas. Moreover, roads may additionally undergo injury throughout the storm. The senior meteorologist added that extra storms are forecasted to carry extra heavy rainfall subsequent week, as effectively.

“It may actually trigger a whole lot of issues with anybody residing or actually touring to the world,” Reppert mentioned.

What Is an Atmospheric River?

The Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes atmospheric rivers as lengthy, slim areas within the environment that transport water vapor out of the tropics.

When atmospheric rivers make landfall, they sometimes launch this water vapor as both rain or snow, at occasions inflicting excessive rainfall or flooding, based on the NOAA. This kind of system beforehand struck California in January and has beforehand been attributed to inflicting mudslides.

California Sees Above-Common Precipitation All through Winter

The most recent snow storm is ready to reach in California simply weeks after the state was pummeled by different extreme snowstorms in late February, prompting a uncommon blizzard warning in Los Angeles as snow fell on areas that not often obtain precipitation.

California, which has been in a drought for the previous 10 years, additionally obtained a historic quantity of rain between December 26 and January 19.

The excessive quantity of rainfall has improved drought circumstances, although a lot of the state stays categorized as abnormally dry, whereas some areas stay in a moderate-to-severe drought. Since February 28, solely 16.7 p.c of the state is just not in a drought in any respect.

Whereas these storms have alleviated drought circumstances, they’ve additionally precipitated substantial injury. At the very least 22 folks had been killed in winter storms that occurred in January, based on the Los Angeles Occasions. The Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) estimated a price ticket of a number of hundred million {dollars} for repairs from December and January storms alone.

Reppert defined that this winter’s climate is definitely “nearer to regular than we have seen in previous a number of winters” for California.

“We’ve seen heavier snowfall, however that is simply serving to to carry issues again to nearer than regular from the dearth of rain and snow we have seen from the final a number of years,” he mentioned.

California Governor Gavin Newsommet with emergency response officers on Sunday to obtain an replace on these latest storms after declaring a state of emergency, his workplace wrote in a press launch. Deputy Director for Disaster Communication & Public Affairs Brian Ferguson informed Newsweek Monday that Newsom has activated the state emergency operation middle and is working intently with counties throughout the state amid these storms.

First responders have additionally been prepositioned with gear in case they’re wanted forward of the upcoming storm, Ferguson mentioned.

Replace 03/06/2023 6:39 p.m. ET: This story was up to date with remark from Brian Ferguson.