Residents from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California are bracing for an “atmospheric river” that will generate heavy rain and high winds along the West Coast beginning late Saturday.
Rainstorms brewing in the Gulf of Alaska will be responsible for the powerful atmospheric rivers — strips of deep tropical moisture — that could cause double-digit rainfall totals. The storms could also bring up to 4 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada.
It is likely to be the strongest storm on record for the waters off the Pacific Northwest, KIRO7 reported.
The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, based in La Jolla, California, tweeted that this second atmospheric river, rated a Category 5 on its 1-to-5 scale, will be the strongest to hit the San Francisco Bay Area this time year since 2010, the Post reported.
A high wind advisory was issued for portions of the coast and northern interior of Washington state beginning early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. A wind advisory was issued for some locations near Puget Sound and the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
The National Weather Service in Portland issued a high wind watch for the northern Oregon coast beginning Sunday morning, with winds expected to reach 25 mph to 40 mph and gusts as high as 65 mph near the coast, The Oregonian reported.
A coastal flood warning is also in effect for the area from Sunday through Tuesday.
The ocean storms are expected to rapidly intensify and are responsible for driving the atmospheric rivers into the Pacific coastline, weather officials said.
Forecast models show that the storm will reach its peak early Sunday, about 300 to 400 miles from the Oregon coast.
The excessive amounts of rain could be seen as a welcome relief that has gripped the West Coast, but some officials are concerned about the possibility of floods or debris flows in areas affected by wildfires.
“Be careful what you wish for,” Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss told the Los Angeles Times after a briefing with state emergency response officials. “We are going to have some problems. It was inevitable for this to happen this way. But we will deal with it. We are strong and resilient.”
Coastal flooding is possible along the nine-county area that comprises the San Francisco metropolitan area, especially during high tides on Sunday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The National Weather Service placed the entire San Francisco Bay Area under a wind advisory and a flood watch for parts of Sunday.
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