The spate of damaging storms that has swept California for a week could turn into its most brutal storm yet when the latest “fire hose of moisture” sweeps across the state on Monday.
The National Weather Service said “atmospheric river events” will continue to hit California early this week, with the strongest system arriving Monday. Additional rain on saturated soils will lead to significant flooding, mudslides and streams of burn debris, the weather service said.
Widespread mountain snow and high winds will add to weather problems across the state, the statement warned.
“This could be a deadly situation and the storm is likely to turn into a multi-billion dollar disaster,” tweeted AccuWeather meteorologist Ariella Scalese. “A few centimeters of rain, mudslides / landslides. In addition, snow of more than 2000 meters and wind gusts of more than 160 km / h.”
TODDLER DIES:A 2-year-old boy is among those killed in the California storm
►More than 440,000 homes and businesses across California were without power on Sunday.
►The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for part of northern and central California.
►Govern. Gavin Newsom will provide a storm update during a news briefing on Sunday afternoon.
POWER FAILURE DRAWS ON:California is struggling to keep the lights on after storms left thousands in the dark
How much rain and snow will fall?
State climatologist Michael Anderson said officials were closely monitoring Monday’s incoming storm and another behind it, and were monitoring three other systems further out in the Pacific. Parts of northern and central California could receive 6 to 12 inches of rain through Wednesday, the weather service said.
AccuWeather says another four to eight inches of rain could fall on many of the coastal areas, as well as the Sierra Nevada foothills. Isolated areas can be up to 14 inches, AccuWeather said. Monday’s storm is expected to bring heavy Sierra snow, strong winds and a mix of heavy sleet and low-lying flooding on Monday and Tuesday, the weather service said.
San Francisco was predicted to receive another 2 to 4 inches of rain. In the past two weeks, the center has had more than 10 inches of rain — six times more than normal for that period. During this stretch, the city recorded its wettest 10-day period in more than 150 years.
Heavy rainfall will return to parts of Southern California Monday night and Tuesday, with 1-2 inches of rain in the Los Angeles area and higher amounts locally, AccuWeather said.
‘THE GROUND IS SAT’: Flood risk festers in California as rain hits over the weekend
Why can this storm be so damaging?
AccuWeather experts say the preconditions are what could catapult upcoming storm damage to “extreme and historic levels.” Those conditions included heavy rainfall on Sunday — a thunderstorm that moved into the Sacramento region produced up to a half inch of rain per hour. Local flooding, wind gusts and lightning were in the forecast.
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The “relentless parade of atmospheric rivers” that has hit the state in recent weeks has swelled rivers and saturated the ground. Mammoth Mountain, a ski resort in the eastern Sierra, received nearly 10 feet of snow, the National Weather Service reported.
Authorities say the fronts are responsible for at least six deaths.
The storms won’t be enough to officially end California’s ongoing drought, but they’ve helped, Anderson said.
Contributions: The The Bharat Express News