Cold and wet weather will continue as the storm swirls over California
More rain, wind and mountain snow battered California on Wednesday as a cold storm continued to swirl over the sodden state, raising the risk of flooding, road closures and debris flows.
The huge low pressure system swirling over the Pacific has already generated dozens of wind advisories and winter storm warnings across the state, with forecasters warning of windy conditions and even more snow at the summit of an already record snowpack.
Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday extended his declaration of a state of emergency to 43 counties and requested a presidential disaster declaration for Calaveras, Kern, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. . If approved, the declaration could boost emergency response and recovery efforts in communities affected by storm-related flooding, debris flows, snow and avalanches.
“Over the past few months, state, local and federal partners have worked around the clock to protect our communities from the devastating storms that have ravaged every part of our state,” Newsom said. “We will continue to deploy all the tools at our disposal to help Californians rebuild and recover from these storms.”
The latest system caused power outages and downed trees in Northern California on Tuesday, but is widely expected to be weaker than the “bomb cyclone” and atmospheric rivers that caused it. preceded.
However, there is a risk of even greater Sierra snowpack and excessive precipitation along the coast, which could lead to localized flooding “given past very wet conditions,” the National Weather Service said.
Satellite imagery showed center of the storm off the coast of northern California early Wednesday. The system is expected to move slowly south throughout the day before heading inland across Southern California as it weakens early Thursday.
Rain was already falling in the Los Angeles area Wednesday morning and is expected to continue intermittently throughout the day, said Mike Wofford, meteorologist with the Oxnard Weather Service. A brief break in the afternoon will give way to a stronger push of moisture from the same storm system Wednesday night into Thursday.
“It’s kind of a typical cyclone system,” Wofford said. “It will be heavier sometimes, but then it will stop and start again, and there can be thunder in there. It will be a little more active tonight and tomorrow.
Coastal areas and valleys from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles could see up to an inch of rain, while foothills and mountainous areas could see up to 3 inches. Rainfall rates of up to a quarter inch per hour are expected, with isolated instances of half an inch per hour.
The storm will also deliver snow, up to 8 inches at elevations above 5,000 feet. Mountains in Santa Barbara and Ventura County could reach 14 inches, with 18 inches possible in mountains in LA County.
A winter storm warning is in effect until 2 p.m. Thursday for the eastern San Gabriel Mountains, including Mount Wilson, Mount Baldy, Wrightwood and the Angeles Crest Freeway. Heavy snowfall is expected with winds blowing up to 45 mph.
A winter weather advisory is also in effect until 2 p.m. Thursday in the western San Gabriel Mountains and the Highway 14 corridor, including Acton, Warm Springs and Mill Creek, where up to 12 inches of snow are possible on higher peaks.
The conditions could cause problems in areas that have already experienced deadly blizzard conditions this year, including mountain communities in San Bernardino County where at least a dozen people have died after being trapped behind piles of snow.
The Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the San Bernardino Mountains through 2 p.m. Thursday, reporting “difficult to impossible” travel conditions, 65 mph wind gusts and up to 10 inches of snow at the above 5,000 feet. Up to 18 inches are possible on higher peaks.
“If you must travel, take an extra flashlight, food, water, in case of emergency, and before you go check the latest road conditions,” said James Brotherton, a meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of San Diego, which covers the San Bernardino Mountains.
Brotherton said the Cajon Pass will also see snow Wednesday night through Thursday morning.
“People driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and not realizing they’re going through a mountain range and there’s snow – that’s probably the biggest impact,” he said. declared. “People who are not prepared for these conditions.”
Forecasters are also keeping a close eye on the Central Valley, where a winter storm warning is in effect for the Sierra Nevada and nearby areas from Bakersfield to Yosemite through Wednesday evening, with heavy snowfall and gusty winds that may reach 60 mph.
A flood watch is in effect for the Sierra foothills through Thursday morning because “excessive runoff can cause rivers, creeks, creeks and other low-lying, flood-prone locations to flood,” the weather service said.
Thousands of Tulare County residents remain under evacuation warnings, including areas of Porterville and Allensworth, which suffered devastating flooding as this year’s storms swelled rivers, making melting snow and reviving the once dry Lake Tulare.
Showers, thunderstorms and the threat of heavy rainfall and further flooding are forecast for the region on Wednesday and Thursday, forecasters said, noting that “soils have had little to no time to dry out after the previous events, creating ideal runoff conditions”.
Storm clouds in the Central Valley — and across most of the state — are expected to clear by Thursday afternoon.
The weekend will bring drier, storm-soaked weather, but wet conditions are on the horizon again early next week.
Los Angeles Times