Battered Central California braces for next storm starting Monday
Flooding continued along several central California rivers on Saturday after this week’s devastating storm, but emergency response officials are growing optimistic that the worst may be over for the moment.
A new storm forecast for early next week was heading south, away from the Central Valley and coastal areas that have seen severe flooding in the atmospheric 11th River to hit the state this rainy season. A weaker, colder storm will bring snow and lighter, more regular rain to Southern California.
Up to 2 feet of snow is forecast for communities in the San Bernardino Mountains. Colder temperatures are expected to bring the snow level below 4,000 feet, reducing the likelihood of flooding from melted rain runoff.
Historic snowfall this month stranded dozens of people and damaged buildings in the San Bernardino Mountains and was thought to be a factor in 13 deaths.
“We’re not looking at flash flooding,” said Samantha Connolly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Diego Station, which covers San Bernardino County. “Minor flooding may occur on low water level crossings.”
Coastal and valley communities in Southern California can expect “significant and long-lasting but light to moderate” rainfall intensity from Monday evening through Wednesday, said meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld of the Los Angeles station. -Oxnard from the National Weather Service.
The midday forecast Saturday called for 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches in the plains and up to 5 inches in the foothills and mountains, Schoenfeld said. Maximum rainfall should not exceed half an inch per hour.
Snowfall is expected as low as 5,500 Monday, dropping to less than 4,000 feet Wednesday with up to 3 feet falling on the highest peaks and 3 to 4 inches at the Grapevine.
The southward shift is reducing pressure on the central part of the state, where flooding during recent storms has caused severe damage and upended thousands of lives.
In the southern San Joaquin Valley, the raging Tule River washed away the homes of the Springville foothills community.
A levee breach on the Pajaro River in Monterey County has triggered flooding and caused hundreds of evacuations. Authorities carried out 60 rescues.
“It looks like we’ll have a break on Monday,” meteorologist Cory Mueller told the National Weather Service’s Sacramento station. “We don’t expect any major flooding issues. Travel issues in the mountains will be our biggest impact. Winter driving conditions can be expected on long stretches of highways in the mountains.
Minor flooding occurred on several northern rivers on Saturday and was abating in most cases.
The National Weather Services issued a warning on Saturday that the Merced River had overshot its banks at Stevinson, about 20 miles west of Merced, reaching a maintenance building in a city park. The river was expected to continue rising through Sunday evening, surpassing the previous crest of the river by more than a foot.
The Salinas River reportedly receded on Saturday after flooding farmland near Spreckels, just south of Salinas. The river was expected to fall below flood stage by Saturday afternoon.
Flooding of the San Joaquin River near Vernalis, southeast of Tracy, was expected to continue Saturday but had not reached historic levels set in 1986.
“We can still expect rain with this system coming,” said Sarah McCorkle, meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Monterey. “We have rain tonight, a fast moving cold front.”
But, she said, “it’s looking to not have as much of an impact on Monterey.” We have seen the rain totals go down.
Los Angeles Times