Storms continue to slam into California, dropping impressive amounts of rain and snow throughout most of the state, except for us in the southeast corner of the state. The stream of moisture off the Pacific has largely been centered from just north of Santa Barbara up to the Bay Area. The deserts have remained partly cloudy, with rainfall staying to our west, over the coastal slopes of the nearby mountains and out to sea.
The next 7 days will see several potentially major weather events for Central California, but it is now expected that Southern California will miss out on most of these systems through Sunday. Here's how the Pacific looks as of Thursday evening.
The same general setup is present over the Pacific tonight, with a westerly jet stream flow heading into Central California. A new low pressure east of Hawaii is getting itself organized, and will be lifted into California over the weekend as the stationary low pressure over the middle Pacific picks up this latest "atmospheric river" and directs it toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The deserts will experience some wind and cloudiness tonight, as the latest system moves to our east. A light shower is possible but not likely early this evening.
Friday and Saturday should be nice for us in the deserts, with increasing cloudiness on Sunday. Temperatures will slowly warm to near 70 degrees each afternoon. By Monday, the tail end of the systems to our north is expected to pull through, with cloudy skies and a slight chance of rain for the deserts, and cooler temperatures and some wind expected. Close to 0.50 inch is expected in the nearby mountains and coastal areas. Dry weather is expected again Tuesday and Wednesday.
MAJOR ISSUES JUST TO OUR NORTH
Unfortunately, the storms just to our north are expected to cause major flooding issues for Central and Northern California, especially in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 10-20 inches of rain may fall in some areas, and higher snow levels are expected to melt the new snow pack between the 3,000-8,000 foot elevations. Portions of the Yosemite Valley will be closed off shortly, as MAJOR flooding is possible along the Merced River. Highest elevations above 9,000-10,000 feet will see major accumulations of snow, possible over 10 feet! check out these proposed 5 day precipitation totals.
The recent storm already dumped 3.5-7 feet of new snow on much of the Sierras, including the Mammoth Mountain area. With another 5-10 feet possible the next 5 days, many areas of the mountains to our north will see totals not seen for a long time.
Anyone traveling to the Sierras, including Reno, Tahoe and Mammoth, as well as those traveling to SF and the Central Valley should be prepared for the possibility of road closures, major flooding and travel difficulties from Saturday - Monday.
It appears more storms are on the horizon, to our north. Long range forecasts show a major storm hitting the Southern California area around Sunday, January 15th... but it is too early to know that with certainty.
Enjoy our relatively quiet weather as our nearby areas will make news headlines over the weekend!