Atmospheric river brings heavy snow, rain, and flooding to California

Gov. Newsom urges President Biden to declare a state of emergency in California.

Photo by Marsel Minga on Flickr / CC0 1.0

Californians are bracing for heavy rain and flooding over the coming days as a result of an atmospheric river event to the West Coast, with heavy snow and a high risk of avalanches across higher mountain areas.

“A High Risk (level 4/4) of Excessive Rainfall in effect on Friday over the same areas, particularly in favorable upslope regions along the terrain of the coastal ranges and the Sierra, where several inches of rain are expected,” warns the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

The NWS said the heavy rainfall is expected to contribute to rapid snowmelt, which will “further exacerbate the potential for scattered to numerous flooding instances downstream.”

Meanwhile, the Sierra Avalanche Center warns of possible avalanches: “Strong winds will continue to transport snow and form slabs of wind-blown snow in exposed areas” near and above the tree line.

Gov. Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in 21 counties on Wednesday, bringing the total to 34.

“California is deploying every tool we have to protect communities from the relentless and deadly storms battering our state,” stated Newsom, stressing the importance of remaining vigilant and following all guidance from local emergency responders.

Yesterday, Newsom sent a letter to Biden urging him to “issue an Emergency Declaration for the State of California” due to the ongoing series of severe storms.