Heavy Rain Slams Northern Calif., Northwest
UPDATED 1:30 AM PST, November 30, 2012
UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal
Soggy weather will continue to pound the West Coast this weekend, as a strong Pacific storm spins off the coast of the Northwest. Rainfall amounts could exceed a foot across northern California, with the rest of the Northwest and northern California seeing 5 to 10 inches. Significant flooding and dangerous landslides will be possible.
A low pressure system is swirling along the Pacific Northwest Coast, and will move very slowly over the next few days. Southwesterly winds will sweep waves of moisture onto the Pacific Coast over next five days. All this moisture will be dumped over Washington, Oregon, California, and even Idaho.
The rain will be heavy at times; by Sunday evening, more than a foot of rain will have fallen along the foothills of the Coast Range and Sierra with 4 to 5 inches farther north along the Oregon and Washington coasts.
As colder air pushes in from the west, snow levels will fall to 6,000 feet. Therefore, only the highest elevations will experience heavy, wet snow. Elevations above 6,000 feet will see 4 to 8 inches with places like Mt. Lassen getting more than a foot. Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for the northern and central Sierra Nevada, and also the Teton and Sawtooth ranges.
Flood Watches and Warnings stretch throughout northern and central California as well as southwestern Oregon through the weekend, and flooding will be exacerbated in burned areas across northern California caused by this summer`s wildfires. The lack of vegetation along the hillsides will increase the runoff of water and mud. Additional flooding is possible as a result of snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada.
In addition to the heavy rain, gusty winds will increase as the low strengthens offshore. The mountains will see the strongest winds, with gusts up to 60 mph expected. The Central Valley will see sustained 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 40 to 55 mph. These winds will make travel along Interstates 5 and 80, U.S Route 50 and Highway 99 difficult, particularly for those in high-profile vehicles, and could also lead to localized power outages.
Wind Advisories are in effect for the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys as well as the eastern Sierra and south-central Oregon. High Wind Watches and Warnings stretch across the eastern Sierra, along the northern California coast, into Oregon`s Klamath Basin, as even as far east as portions of western Montana.
The heavy rain chances will continue into early next week as the weather pattern remains stuck in neutral. The pattern won`t break until the central U.S. high pressure slides east, which won`t happen until the new work week is well underway.
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