An atmospheric river hitting California has prompted evacuations, a Presidential Emergency Declaration and an increasingly dire warning that heavier rain comes for parts of the state.
The central part of California was especially hammered by the floods: Drastically flooded roads around Kern County and National Guard members encountered floodwaters as they set out to help first responders in Santa Cruz County.
The concerns of forecasters are mainly concentrated outside the main population centers of the state. On Saturday afternoon, Los Angeles and San Diego were free of weather watches, warnings and advisories; the San Francisco Bay area was under an expansive flood watch.
Meanwhile, the forecasters said a winter storm could dump a foot or more of snow on northeastern North Dakota, part of a storm that will impact parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan this weekend.
California storm impacts: Flooded roads, evacuations, dams breached
More than 9,000 California residents were under evacuation orders Friday. First responders rescued dozens of people Saturday in a Northern California farming community after a levee on the Pajaro River was breached. In the Central Valley’s Tulare County, another levee breach prompted evacuations Friday.
Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chairman Luis Alejo said in a tweet that residents will have months to repair flood damage to their homes in Parajo, a largely Latino unincorporated Monterey Bay community. .
“We need all the help we can get from our state and federal leaders to help our families through this devastating hardship!” Alejo said.
And in an unusual move, officials opened spillways in Lake Oroville for the first time since April 2019 because one of the most important reservoirs in the state had too much water. State water managers have been grappling with how best to use the recent storms to help them emerge from a severe drought.
California weekend forecast
An atmospheric river churning through California will continue to dump heavy rain and snow across much of the state Saturday.
The storm, known as the “Pineapple Express” because it is fueled by moisture extending over the Pacific to Hawaii, caused particular concern because the mountains of California built up a huge and expansive snow after several other atmospheric rivers they hit the state this winter. It is the state’s 10th atmospheric river of the season.
The snowpack at high altitude is so deep that it should be able to absorb the rain, forecasters said. But lower elevations could face a troubling combination of snowmelt and precipitation at the same time.
Central California remained at risk of stronger and more severe isolated storms Saturday afternoon into the evening, the National Weather Service said, and the Central Valley could see “hail, strong winds and possibly a brief tornado.”
Rain at lower elevations and snow in the mountains in Northern and Central California were expected at a slightly lower intensity than in recent days.
atmospheric river:The weather phenomenon extends thousands of miles from the tropics to the western United States
Another storm headed for California
Some of the same areas hit in recent days with flash, heavy rainfall and flooding will see more of the same from the next storm, the weather service said.
The beginning of the week will bring “significant flooding impacts” along California’s Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley and foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada. The Bay Area should brace for damaging winds early Monday night.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, more heavy rain and melting snow may lead to widespread flooding before another round of snow “will further compound the impacts and problems of the snow load,” according to the weather service.
All the precipitation in California brings good news for the state.
About 26 percent of the state is now considered drought-free, up from just 16 percent on Feb. 28, Bob Larson — senior meteorologist with AccuWeather — said, adding that the new figure doesn’t even include the two atmospheric rivers that impacted on Saturday. and next week.
“It won’t end the drought, but (it’s) absolutely helpful,” he said. “Even if it causes all kinds of problems in the short term, the big picture in the long term is a help.”
A strange winter unfolds:New datasets record heat, strange snow patterns
Winter storm map
Like California, the eastern and northeastern parts of the United States will continue to see winter stormy weather on Saturday before a calm Sunday, quickly followed by another storm.
A strip of the region between buffalo and Binghamton, New York can expect 6-12 inches of snow while New York City it can be from 1 to 3 inches.
The further east the storm moves, the more “it becomes a big deal,” Larson said.
Western Massachusetts it can get between 2 and 4 inches of snow while Boston It looks like it will be spared any major precipitation this weekend.
Come Monday, that will change with a nor’pasqua.
“It’s not going to be a prolonged lull,” Larson said. “But everyone New England it should be dry and quiet by sunday.”
Strong to severe storms are expected Eastern Oklahoma and most of Arkansas on Saturday before the threat moves southeast to the southern half Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia Sunday.
United States weather watches and warnings
National weather radar
Contributing: The Associated Press