California braced for more stormy weather with rain sweeping into the northern part the state and the San Francisco Bay area, preceding a series of powerful incoming Pacific storms and raising the potential for road flooding, rising rivers and mudslides on soils already saturated after days of rain.
The National Weather Service warned of a “relentless parade of atmospheric rivers” over the coming week, producing heavy rain and mountain snow. Atmospheric river storms are long plumes of moisture stretching out into the Pacific and are capable of dropping staggering amounts of rain and snow.
The agency’s Sacramento office tweeted early Sunday that parts of the Sacramento Valley were experiencing “strong winds with gusts up to 60 mph,” as well as “numerous trees and power lines down with power outages.”
Nearly 549,000 customers had their electricity knocked out in and around the state’s capital, by 6 a.m EST. according to a poweroutage.us.
The wet weather comes after days of rain in California from Pacific storms. A series of recent weather systems have knocked out power to thousands, flooded streets, battered the coastline and caused at least six deaths.
The first of the heavier storms was due to arrive Monday, and the weather service issued a flood watch for a large swath of Northern and Central California with 6 to 12 inches of rain expected through Wednesday in the Sacramento-area foothills.
In the Los Angeles area, light rain was forecast for the weekend with stormy conditions expected to return Monday with the potential for up to 8 inches of rain in the foothills. High surf was expected through Tuesday, with large waves on west-facing beaches, the National Weather Service said.
Since December 26, San Francisco received more than 10 inches of rain, while Mammoth Mountain, a popular ski area in the Eastern Sierra, received nearly 10 feet of snow, the National Weather Service reported.
The storms won’t be enough to officially end California’s ongoing drought but they have helped.
State climatologist Michael Anderson told a news briefing late Saturday that officials were closely monitoring Monday’s incoming storm and another behind it and were keeping an eye on three other systems farther out in the Pacific.