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Major Dousing Expected on the West Coast, California Looking for Beneficial Rainfall

5 Feb 2015, 10:12 pm

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A pair of systems are set to bring some much-needed rainfall along the West Coast and California could get the brunt of it. Some locations — especially in the coastal mountain ranges of Northern California — could receive up to ten inches of rain. Making the potential rainfall a bit of a double-edged sword. One one hand, the sudden deluge will likely create conditions conducive for flash flooding, which could impact people in flood-prone areas.

However, that said, the influx of rain would be a welcome relief for drought-stricken California — which has been mired in historically dry conditions, for years.

Just last month, San Francisco didn’t record a single drop of rain in January; the first time that’s happened since record keeping began in 1850. Other locations like Sacramento and San Jose also recorded a fraction of their monthly rainfall, in January, as well.

System 1

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Through the early morning hours of Friday, light to moderate rain will be ongoing for a large swath of Pacific Northwest and Northern California. This could make for a longer-than-normal commute for major metropolitan areas like Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Moving into the late morning and early afternoon hours, heavy rain is likely to develop in Northern California — especially in the Eureka and Redding areas. Rain will also spread into interior sections of Washington State and Oregon.

Some of the higher elevations, especially in the Cascade Mountains could see a bit of snow, but rising snow levels will keep the snow down. Nevertheless, if you’re traveling mountain roads in the area, use caution.

Moving into Friday evening and Saturday morning, light-to-moderate rain will push into California’s Central Valley. Cities like Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield could get some much-needed rain. As the system exits, intermittent rain showers will continue from central California to western Washington.

System 2

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The second system will start to approach the California-Oregon border by midday, on Sunday. This mean rain will once more fall for a large swath of the California coast and parts of the Pacific Northwest. Light-to-moderate rain will be falling in places like Eureka, San Francisco and Monterrey by mid-morning Sunday. Heavier bands of precipitation are likely to develop through the afternoon, especially in Northern California.

Since ground will already be wet, after the first storm, the threat for flash flooding and mudslides will be on the rise. If you see water over a roadway, turn around. A foot of swift-moving water is enough to float and sweep a vehicle downstream.

A light, steady rain will continue for much of the day on Sunday, into Monday morning. Rain across the region will eventually begin to taper off late Monday.

Flood watches have already been issued for northwestern sections of Washington — including all of the Olympic Peninsula and much of the Puget Sound region. Additional flash flood watches have been issued for parts of Northern California and southwestern Oregon.

The forecast is subject to change in the coming days, so check back with WeatherNation — on-air and online — for the latest on the storms.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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