Strong storms to continue beyond Presidents Day for West
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 12:06 - The moisture-packed train of storms affecting California this winter has been well received by many, but this long weekend, the timing is not ideal for additional rain and snow given the precarious water excess situation in some areas of the state.
"Much of the West Coast will remain in an active wet pattern through mid-week as multiple Pacific fronts move through the region," the National Weather Service said in a short-range forecast. "A nearly continuous plume of moisture will be directed toward portions of central and northern California through Tuesday -- resulting in heavy rainfall along the coast and valleys; with mountain snow."
Parts of the Northern Intermountain Region are also expected to see snow and lower elevation rain through Tuesday as the front tracks into the High Plains.
Flash flood advisories and warnings are in effect for northern sections of the Golden State Monday, stretching into Washington state, Nevada, Idaho and Montana. Rain will eventually spread into Las Vegas and Arizona this weekend, with strong winds to continue into Presidents Day and beyond for some areas. All updates on watches and warnings will be published, here.
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Currently, most of California is saturated with surface water, and although there is a need for much more to continue regenerating the ground water supply and filling-up the reservoirs in the southern part of the state, the nearly 200,000 residents that were evacuated due to the crumbling of the Oroville Dam don't even want to hear the word precipitation.
River of Moisture to continue flowing across the Pacific into the US West Coast
As discussed here a few weeks ago, the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation) Pacific mode continues to be favorable for moisture to be transported across the Pacific from southeast Asia into the US west coast. With La Niña gone and a potential weak El Niño on the way during the next few months, the flow of moisture into incoming West Coast Pacific Storms will continue this week into next, with a potential for a change in this pattern later in the month.
Below: 850 mb Wind Anomaly via NOAA
850 mb wind anomalies for the past two weeks show an intensification of the westerly wind flow from the eastern Indian Ocean across the west Pacific all the way to the eastern Pacific and the west coast of North America. The forecast for the next few weeks indicates that OLR anomalies (Outgoing Longwave Radiation) which represent enhanced/reduced cloud cover due to moisture surplus/deficit, are positive.
The anomaly is centered around much of southeast Asia, and eventually extends with weaker values across the Pacific into Central America and northward. This would represent a continued flow of moisture from the other side of the Pacific towards California, Oregon and Washington and thus additional precipitation from powerful incoming storms.
Below: OLR predicted anomaly via NOAA
Heavy rain and flood threat for parts California, Pacific Northwest and Desert Southwest
The strongest storm in six years bore down on Southern California Friday.
At least five people were killed as a result of the storm, with dangerous sinkholes swallowing vehicles and passengers as flood waters rose. The threat for flooding, mudslides, and dangerous travel is expected to continue through Tuesday.
The region saw a bit of a break Sunday, before another series lows move ashore through midweek next week.
Below: Precipitation forecast Sunday, Feb 19, through Wednesday, Feb 22 (NOAA)
Subsequent storms will be moving into the Washington-Oregon area over the weekend into next week, bringing yet a stronger dose of precipitation across all of California through Monday afternoon.
Watch below: Damage reported in Southern California as core of storm moves through
Storms continue for Western U.S. Presidents Day and beyond
A new storm system is expected to bring episodes of heavy rain and high elevation snow (localized maximum of 4 inches or greater of liquid equivalent in 24-hours) across parts of California, the Central Great Basin, and the Pacific Northwest Tuesday, Feb 21.
The risk of power outages and damage will also continue with high winds of 46 mph or greater to coastal parts of California and the Pacific Northwest Monday, Feb 20. Winds of 35 mph or greater will also be expected for parts of the Central Rockies, the Central Plains, the Northern Plains, and the Northern Rockies Tuesday, Feb 21 to Wednesday, Feb 22.
As for snow, an inch or greater of liquid equivalent in 24-hours can be expected for portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Great Basin into Tuesday, Feb 21.
WATCH BELOW: NEXT WEEK'S STORM TRACK
Timing and impacts of the next storms:
- Heavy precipitation across portions of California, the Central Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern Great Basin, Mon-Tue, Feb 20-Feb 21.
- High winds across coastal portions of California and Oregon, Mon-Tue, Feb 20-Feb 21.
- High significant wave heights for coastal portions of California and Oregon, Tue, Feb 21.
- Heavy snow across portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Great Basin, Mon-Tue, Feb 20-Feb 21.
- High winds across portions of the Northern and Central Rockies, and Northern and Central Plains, Mon-Tue, Feb 20-Feb 21.
Spring Is Ahead! How will a developing El Niño impact our spring weather? The Spring Forecast will be released Tuesday, February 28 at 6am ET on theweathernetwork.com