California has seen the lions share of precipitation this winter,  with a constant stream of tropical moisture hosing the state.  The rain has broken drought conditions across the northern half of the state,  but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

The latest drought monitor from February 14th,  showing reduced regions of drought over the past year.

Year to date precipitation measurements taken by the National Weather Service in Sacramento are nearly three times greater than average.  Reservoirs such as Lake Orville have quickly filled and seen their share of issues.  Unfortunately for the residents of Northern California,  more precipitation is expected to fall early this week.

Sunday night through Tuesday,  another stream of tropical moisture will unload on the state,  as a large system approaches the west coast.  Precipitation totals through Wednesday within the Sacramento Valley are forecasted to reach 2-3 inches by the Weather Prediction Center.  Amounts are even higher venturing east towards the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges.  The higher elevations provide additional lift and greater totals.  In response to this coming threat,  flash flood warnings have been issued for most of the Sacramento Valley,  and winter storm warnings for those higher elevations.

Moisture and excessive rainfall with stream into Northern California late Sunday through Tuesday

Impacts from the storm will feature localized flooding in low lying areas,  and additional stress on levees,  rivers,  creeks,  and streams.  Bridges and roadways near rivers may become flooded or washed away for regions experiencing higher rainfall amounts.  The already soaked region also will be prone to mudslides, with excessive moisture loosening the soil in hilly areas.

“Significant flooding concerns this week as heavy rain will add stress to levees,  rivers,  streams and roadways. Wettest and windiest period expected Monday into Tuesday…make final preparations ahead of the incoming storm with flooding,  strong winds and heavy snow.” National Weather Service – Sacramento

For those threatened by flooding,  there are multiple ways to prepare and avoid dangerous situations involving rising waters.  Preparation is the best to stay safe for any severe weather event,  as the National Weather Service in Sacramento suggests making a “Go Bag”,   containing important documents,  medications,  and other necessary items.  The office also advises that for those who may need to evacuate via vehicle,  make sure to have a full tank of gas for added security.

As always,  make sure to check for more updates as this system evolves through Neoweather and your local National Weather Service forecast office.


About Kevin Thiel

Kevin is a Meteorology Major and Mathematics Minor at Ohio University, with an interest for thunderstorm electrification and research. On campus, he serves as President of the AMS Student Chapter, along with Webmaster and Forecaster for the campus atmospheric lab. This past summer, Kevin interned at the National Weather Service office in Miami, Florida, using lightning and radar data to study severe thunderstorm potential. One day, Kevin hopes to enter into field of academia and research, or become a forecaster with the Storm Prediction Center.