Second, Stronger Storm Targets Southern California With Floods And Landslides
A stronger storm targets Southern California, bringing a potent atmospheric river set to hit the region this weekend. This comes close to a previous storm, compounding the challenges for an area still reeling from an earlier about of extreme weather. Forecasters issued stark warnings on Friday, predicting life-threatening floods and landslides that could impact vast swathes of the state. The community and emergency services are on high alert, preparing for the impending storm while recovering from the recent deluge.
The stronger storm targets Southern California, gaining momentum as it nears, and it is anticipated to begin its onslaught with escalating rainfall starting Saturday. The most intense periods of rainfall are expected to drench the region on Sunday and Monday, impacting an extensive stretch of coastline that spans from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, reaching down to the populated areas of Los Angeles and San Diego. This significant weather event brings the potential for widespread disruption and necessitates urgent preparations across the affected areas.
In response to the looming threat, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flash-flood watches for the entire area, cautioning against the massive amounts of rainfall anticipated over 36 hours. The storm, accompanied by strong gusty winds, is expected to drop an average of 3-6 inches of rain across coastal and valley regions, with 6-12 inches forecasted in the foothills and lower mountains.
The risk of flooding is exacerbated by the already saturated soil and high stream levels from Thursday’s storm, raising the stakes for the incoming weather system. “People need to start preparing now for a major flooding event,” advised the NWS in an online forecast discussion.
Particularly at risk are the mountainous regions of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, where rainfall could reach up to 15 inches. Communities situated on the south-facing slopes of mountains and foothills are bracing for the brunt of the storm, with heightened risks of flash floods, mudflows, and landslides. Areas scarred by recent wildfires are especially prone to erosion and washouts.
The NWS’s stark warning emphasized that “All areas, including highly populated urban areas, will be at risk for life-threatening flooding.” In Los Angeles, the storm’s timing coincides with the Grammy Awards, prompting event organizers to erect large tents for the red-carpet event.
Efforts are underway across the region to mitigate the storm’s impact, with crews filling sandbags, clearing drains, and reinforcing vulnerable areas. The Central Coast and the San Francisco Bay area are also under flash-flood watches, with high winds expected to be a significant concern.
While the storm poses significant risks, ski resorts anticipate a snowfall windfall, with 2-4 feet of snow expected in higher elevations, contributing to the much-needed snowpack. This is a silver lining after last year’s atmospheric river storms, which, despite causing widespread damage, helped alleviate the prolonged drought conditions in California.
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