No matter where you are in California, big storms are headed your way over the next several days. Forecasters are warning of back-to-back atmospheric rivers that could lead to flooding, mudslides and road closures between today and Tuesday.
“We could very well receive February’s total normal precipitation within the month’s first five days,” forecasters from the National Weather Service’s office in San Diego wrote early Monday morning.
California needs the rain to stave off drought. The state has gotten only about 81 percent of the total average rainfall expected by this time of year, and the snowpack is just 32 percent of its average April 1 peak, according to state data. Water levels at reservoirs are still above average for this time of year because of the bounty of rain we received last winter, but they are not nearly as high as they were a year ago.
The first storm reached the California coast last night, and it is expected to bring widespread rainfall and gusty winds to Northern California today before tapering off a bit and moving into Southern California tomorrow.
It will pack a greater punch in the north than in the south, forecasters told me. Parts of Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties are expected to get two to four inches of rain, and the Santa Cruz and Santa Lucia Mountains may get six inches, according to Nicole Sarment, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office. The North Coast is expected to get up to five inches of rain today and tomorrow.
Flooding is expected in low-lying areas because the soil is already saturated from earlier storms, experts say. Heavy winds may knock down trees and power lines.