Atmospheric river causes flooding and landslides across California over New Years weekend

Landslides of rocks and mud closed roads across California on Friday as heavy rains triggered what will be a series of storms set to usher in the new year with showers and potential flooding in a much of the state and several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada.

the atmospheric river The storm, a long, wide plume of moisture drawn from the Pacific Ocean, began sweeping across the northern part of the state on Friday and is expected to bring more rain through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

A winter storm warning was in effect Sunday for high elevations in the Sierra, from south of Yosemite National Park to north of Lake Tahoe, where up to 1.5 meters of snowfall is possible atop the mountains, the National Weather Service says in Reno, Nevada.

A flood watch was in effect across much of northern California through New Year’s Eve. Officials warned that rivers and streams could overflow and urged residents to prepare sandbags.

The landslides had already closed roads in the San Francisco Bay Area, between Fremont and Sunol, as well as in Mendocino County near the unincorporated community of Piercy and in the Mendocino National Forest, where crews cleared debris Friday night.

Humboldt County, where a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Dec. 20, also saw roads begin to flood, according to the National Weather Service’s Eureka office. A temporarily closed bridge last week due to earthquake damage could be closed again if the Eel River, which it crosses, becomes too high, officials said.

San Mateo County authorities closed a portion of Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay early Saturday morning as stormwater spread across the stretch amid continued heavy rain. They said there was “no estimated time to reopen”.

It was the first of several storms expected to move through California over the next week. The current system is expected to be warmer and wetter, while next week’s storms will be colder, lowering snow levels in the mountains, said Hannah Chandler-Cooley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The Sacramento area could receive a total of 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 centimeters) of rain during the week, Chandler-Cooley said.

The California Highway Patrol reported that some local roads in eastern Sacramento were underwater and sometimes impassable on Friday. As night fell, nearly 5 inches of rain had fallen in the past 24 hours in the Sierra foothills in Blue Canyon, about 70 miles northeast of Sacramento, the weather service said.

Sacramento firefighters planned to air evacuation announcements from a helicopter and a boat along the American River – a place where many homeless people live in encampments – to warn of flooding.

In a tweet, the California Highway Patrol highlighted a landslide in Alameda County that scattered lumber around a bend.

“A good reminder to slow down with all the rain we have. You never know what will happen around the next bend. Please drive carefully and allow yourself extra time,” the agency’s Dublin regional office tweeted on Friday. .

A winter storm warning was in effect until 4 a.m. Sunday for much of the Sierra, including the higher elevations around Lake Tahoe where more than a foot of snow was expected near the shores at an elevation from about 6,200 feet (1,889 meters) and up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) with winds up to 100 mph (160 km/h) above the ridges.

“Strong winds could damage trees and lead to power outages and high waves on Lake Tahoe could capsize small vessels,” the Reno Weather Service said.

Avalanche warnings were issued in the backcountry around Lake Tahoe and the Mammoth Lakes south of Yosemite.

On the Eastern Front of the Sierras, flood watches and warnings continue over the weekend north and south of Reno, Nevada, where minor to moderate flooding was forecast along some rivers and streams until ‘at week-end.

In Susanville, Calif., about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Reno, the Susan River is expected to rise from about 5 feet (1.5 meters) on Friday to a foot (30 centimeters) above sea level. 12-foot (3.6-meter) flooding by Saturday morning, causing moderate flooding that could affect some homes, roads and bridges, the National Weather Service said.

In Southern California, moderate to heavy rain was forecast for Saturday. The region will begin to dry out on New Year’s Day and the Jan. 2 Rose Parade in Pasadena is expected to avoid precipitation.

Heavy showers are forecast for Tuesday or Wednesday, the National Weather Service said in Oxnard.

The rain was welcomed in drought-scorched California, but it takes a lot more precipitation to make a significant difference. The past three years have been the driest on record in California.

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