California is preparing for another atmospheric river

SAN FRANCISCO — Twin storms were expected to hit California this week, the second likely to provide the last of a dozen atmospheric rivers to flood the state in recent months.

The National Weather Service predicts periods of heavy rain and snowfall for the Sierra Nevada with wind gusts reaching 50 mph over the next few days.

“After a quiet Saturday, the active weather is expected to spread across much of the West,” the weather service warned.

The first storm had already started bringing moisture from the Pacific into California on Sunday and was expected to spread rapidly north into the Pacific Northwest.

AccuWeather meteorologists warn that twin storms could produce “significant” rainfall in northern California before spreading to the southern part of the state.

“Any vigorous downpour could further exacerbate river flooding issues in Northern California,” AccuWeather meteorologist La Troy Thornton said.

The second storm, which will arrive on Tuesday, will likely include the characteristics of an atmospheric river – a long, fluid region of the atmosphere that carries water vapor across the sky. AccuWeather said the storm will bring even heavier rain and snow to the mountains on Wednesday.

The series of storms that have battered California since late December have caused flooding in several places, collapsed roofs in mountain communities submerged by acres of snow and left thousands of people without power. But the storms also pulled most of the state out of a brutal three-year drought.

Only a third of California remains under a drought advisory, most in the “moderate” category of least concern. As of mid-December, 98% of the state was in some form of drought, with the vast majority at least in the “severe” category.

THUNDERSTORMS SWEEP CENTRAL USA:Possible blizzard conditions


►The second storm is expected to focus on Southern California, with the wide availability of moisture causing rainfall amounts to skyrocket, AccuWeather said.

► Heavy rain is expected to affect the Los Angeles area on Tuesday and widespread flooding is possible. As of March 18, downtown Los Angeles had received 24.06 inches of rain since November, more than double its normal total for the date.

Whiteout in Michigan: Dozens of cars crash on the freeway

Lake-effect snow showers will continue mostly downwind of the lower Great Lakes on Sunday, the weather service said. In Michigan, Interstate 96 near Portland was fully open Sunday, hours after dozens of vehicles were involved in a pileup in whiteout conditions. Michigan State Police officials said they closed eastbound and westbound I-96 just after 5 p.m. Saturday after the crash on the eastbound lanes. There were whiteout conditions ahead of the pile-up of up to 100 cars, but the sun was up and the sky had cleared by the time they released an image showing the wreckage. Injuries were reported, but none were serious, police said.

Video obtained by the State Journal showed that numerous vehicles collided with the cable barrier separating the eastbound and westbound lanes.

Conditions deteriorated rapidly and visibility deteriorated just before the crash. Some drivers hit guardrails, while others were unable to stop and crashed into cars in front of them.

Deep South in a deep freeze through Tuesday

The first day of spring Monday will feel like a mere extension of winter for large parts of the East and South, as those regions feel the crippling effects of what the National Weather Service calls “a large dome of cold air “.

The Deep South will be in deep freeze from northern Texas to the North Carolina coast, bringing ‘a handful of record cold minimum and maximum temperatures’ on Sunday and Monday mornings. Freeze warnings have been issued in the entire region, and in some places the thermometer will dip into the low 20s.

“The warmer-than-average winter across much of the south has caused trees to bloom several weeks early across much of the region, which may therefore be a jolt to vegetation,” The Weather Channel said.

A warming trend will begin on Tuesday, increasing afternoon temperatures by 15 to 20 degrees from Sunday, the outlet said.

Floodwaters trap hikers in the Grand Canyon

Floodwaters are beginning to recede in the Havasupai Tribe area near Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, where tourists were trapped overnight over the weekend, the tribe said on its Facebook page. Tribal guides led hikers around the creek waters to the village via a side trail. The tribe reported Friday that flooding washed away a bridge leading to the campground and an unknown number of campers were evacuated on Saturday, some by helicopter. The area is deep in a gorge, accessible only by foot, helicopter, horseback or mule.

“No cameras, no photos as you are guided through areas usually closed to tourists,” the Facebook post read. “These are sacred sites, so please be respectful and follow directions. We are doing our best to make reasonable accommodations.”

Contribute: The Associated Press

USA Today

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