© Reuters. Cars lie partially submerged in water, as the primary in a pair of Pacific storms floods components of Southern California, in Long Beach, California, February 1, 2024. REUTERS/Jorge Garcia
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A second, extra highly effective atmospheric river storm was headed for Southern California this weekend, threatening to unleash potentially life-threatening floods and landslides, forecasters warned on Friday, whilst a lot of the state was drying out from an earlier deluge.
Gradually intensifying rain was expected to start dousing California on Saturday, with probably the most intense downpours soaking a 300-mile stretch of coast on Sunday and Monday because the storm spreads from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara south via Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
The National Weather Service (NWS) posted flood watches for the whole area in anticipation of staggering quantities of precipitation seemingly to fall over a 36-hour interval, accompanied by robust gusty winds.
Rainfall averaging 3-6 inches (7-15 cm) was forecast for a lot of the area’s coastal and valley areas, with 6-12 inches expected within the foothills and lower-elevation mountains.
With soils already saturated and streams working excessive from an earlier storm that drenched the area on Thursday, the flood potential from the approaching onslaught is even greater than it will be in any other case, forecasters stated.
“The amount of water that will be hitting the ground will generate significant, widespread and possibly life-threatening” floods, the climate service stated in a forecast dialogue posted on-line.
The NWS stated there was a great probability of rainfall totals as excessive as 15 inches (38 cm) in mountainous components of Santa Barbara Ventura counties the place the storm would in all probability hit hardest.
Communities on the south-facing slopes of mountains and foothills are expected to be hit with the heaviest downpours and thus most weak to potential flash floods, mud flows and landslides.
“Everyone needs to be prepared for significant impacts,” Ariel Cohen, the chief meteorologist for the NWS Los Angeles-Oxnard department.
In Los Angeles, the peak of the encroaching storm is expected to coincide with the music business’s Grammy Awards present on Sunday, prompting organizers to arrange giant tents for the pre-ceremony crimson carpet procession of the celebs.
Elsewhere, crews had been busy filling and stacking sandbags and clearing storm drains and culverts.
Ski areas however had been trying ahead to a bonanza, as snowfalls measuring 2-4 toes (61-122 cm) are expected within the higher-elevation mountains, the NWS stated.
Frozen precipitation from the storm may even profit the area’s snowpack, serving to to rebuild a key supply of freshwater that has lagged beneath regular regardless of final yr’s winter’s record-breaking storms.
Much of the area on Friday was nonetheless cleansing up from an earlier bout of heavy rains that swept northern and southern parts of the state on Wednesday and Thursday, triggering scattered road flooding, rock slides and dust flows.
Both storms fashioned from huge airborne currents of dense moisture known as atmospheric rivers. They additionally match the definition of a storm system generally known as a “Pineapple Express,” drawing on particularly heat, subtropical waters across the Hawaiian islands.
A collection of a couple of dozen atmospheric river storms lashed California in speedy succession final winter, inflicting mass evacuations, energy outages, levee breaches and street closures in a state lengthy preoccupied with drought and wildfires. At least 20 folks perished in these storms, which nonetheless helped break the grip of a years-long drought in California.