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Pacific Storm – Widespread Flooding Possible in Sierra

Another round of heavy rain and snow will move into the West this weekend. It is possible this system could be the worst in more than 10 years in parts of California. Widespread flooding is the biggest concern as more than 6″ of rain could fall.

Flash Flood Watches remain in effect for most of Central California and Western Nevada. Rainfall totals over 6″ are possible, especially near the Sierra. Melting snow from the mountains created by the rain and warmer temperatures will worsen the flooding situation.

An active Jet Stream flowing in across the Pacific will set the stage for the heavy rain and snow. High moisture will be streaming in from the Pacific, extending from near Hawaii all the way to the California Coast. This “atmospheric river” is often called the Pineapple Express. A series of low pressure centers will ride along inside the “atmospheric river”, creating the high precipitation amounts.

The Jet Stream is starting to intensify now and energy will continue to increase this weekend. Waves of high moisture and wind will crash into the Pacific Coast.

Several feet of snow are possible in the mountains, with maybe as much as 5 feet in the highest peaks of the Sierra. Winter Storm Warnings extend from California to Idaho, with watches into the Tetons.

Saturday morning the first wave of moisture will move into California with heavy rain and snow. By evening, the rain and snow will extend into the Pacific Northwest and to the Rockies.

More energy will sweep ahead of a cold front on Sunday. This will bring in a period of very heavy rainfall in California and the highest threat for flooding.

Moisture will continue to flow into the west on Monday. As temperatures cool slightly, snow will become heavier throughout the Cascades and Sierra, with rain continuing in the foothills and the coast.

Stay tuned for update on WeatherNation all weekend with live reports from the West Coast. You can always get the latest updates at online.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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