Wet pattern persists: New storms to soak California

By Alyssa Glenny,
A new round of storms will spread wet weather across California into early next week, hitting both coastal areas and the San Joaquin Valley with heavy rainfall and the potential for renewed flooding. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A new round of storms will spread wet weather across California into early next week, hitting both coastal areas and the San Joaquin Valley with heavy rainfall and the potential for renewed flooding. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

A relentless wet pattern will continue for the West Coast through at least the middle of next week, bringing multiple storms, locally heavy rainfall new flooding risks, forecasters say.

Through Saturday night, a storm lingering off the coast of southwestern Oregon and northwestern California will usher in rain and mountain snow. By Sunday night, however, a secondary, more widespread storm will arrive and bring rain farther south into the San Diego and Los Angeles coasts.


This feature will continue to spread rain across the state into early next week, with a widespread area along the coast and north of the San Joaquin Valley expected to observe between 2-4 inches of rainfall through Wednesday.

"The heaviest rain will focus along the Central coast Sunday night into Monday, and then along the coast in Southern California Monday into Tuesday, including Los Angeles. In addition, strong winds can develop Sunday afternoon and continue through Monday afternoon across Northern and Central California," explained AccuWeather Meteorologist Haley Taylor.


Taylor added that the combination of these gusty winds and a very saturated ground could lead to downed trees and power lines. Flooding, landslides and mudslides will also be a concern once again.

Winds are expected to range from 30-50 mph across Central and Northern California later Sunday through Monday, with some mountain locations at risk for gusting higher. Generally, from Tuesday to Wednesday, winds will trend calmer across the state as the storm takes a northward trajectory.

Comparing the impacts expected over the upcoming days to the storms that barreled into California from Feb. 3-5, forecasters are not expecting the risks to be as widespread due to one main factor: the storm arriving late Sunday will be losing energy as it approaches rather than strengthening.

The expected result will be that winds from the incoming storm will not be as strong as the damaging gusts observed earlier in the month.

Cold air in place across the higher terrain in California will result in any precipitation to fall as snow. Heavy snowfall will quickly spread across the Sierra Nevada into early next week, with totals around 1 to 3 feet possible in northern areas.


"Snow levels will remain around 6,000-7,000 feet through most of the event for the Sierra, and multiple feet of snow can fall above 7,000 feet. This means another winter storm for Donner Pass. The heaviest snow looks to arrive Sunday night through Monday," noted Taylor.

Winter storm warnings have been issued across the mountains for weather expected Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning. Experts warn that travel can be difficult to impossible due to heavy snow and that road closures can occur as a result.

Recently, residents spanning all across California, from the Klamath Mountains in the north to desert regions in the south, have been plagued with rounds of storms and wet conditions. The wettest time frame of the year for Californians is typically observed during the winter months however, forecasters wanted to take a closer look to see how this season to date compares to historical data to gain some perspective on how wet it truly has been.

From Dec. 1, 2023, to Feb. 17, cities such as Santa Barbara, San Diego and Los Angeles are all ranking at 170 or higher of their typical observed rainfall for each respective location. To put that into perspective, the total observed rainfall during the winter months to date in Santa Barbara, California, is currently at 15.29 inches. That location typically observes 8.89 inches between Dec. 1 to mid-February, according to historical data


Even places such as Death Valley, Calif., have observed 263 of their normal rainfall since Dec. 1 by collecting 2.42 inches to date. Although it doesn't sound like much compared to how much rain Santa Barbara residents have received, nearly 2.5 inches of rain for desert locations with dry, dense surfaces can be rather impactful in terms of flooding and runoff. The historical average rainfall during this time frame for Death Valley is 0.92 of an inch.

Last winter, from Dec.1, 2022, to Feb. 28, 2023, rainfall totals in Santa Barbara came out to 165 compared to historical averages, while Los Angeles ended the season with 188 of normal rainfall. Places like Death Valley only collected 0.63 of an inch of rain, putting them at 55 of normal for last year's meteorological winter.

With additional rainfall on the way for California, some locations may end up surpassing last winter's totals, while others already have hit the mark.

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