‘Catastrophic flooding’ expected from California winter storms

Atmospheric river to bring heavy rainfall to California as major nor'easter causes heavy snowfall and coastal flooding in the Northeast.

Photo by David Stowell on Org / CC BY-SA 2.0

The NWS has warned that another winter storm will bring heavy precipitation to California today, with “major flooding and high elevation heavy snows.” The Northeast will face “significant impacts” as a “major nor’easter” will cause heavy snowfall and coastal flooding.

“Considerable to locally catastrophic flooding impacts below 5000 feet are expected to shift south across much of the California coast, Central Valley, and Sierra Nevada foothills,” warns the NWS, noting that creeks and streams will be at risk of flooding due to the additional rain and snowmelt.

Snow load impacts are expected to worsen as the deep snowpack absorbs heavy rain in the Sierra Nevada as “heavy snow, measuring in feet above 7500 feet,” compounds ongoing issues.

“After this latest high-impact atmospheric river sweeps through California by Wednesday, a few days of relief from any heavy precipitation is expected. However, the extended range outlook from the Climate Prediction Center forecasts another atmospheric river arriving next week,” tweeted the NWS yesterday.

Meanwhile, significant impacts are expected from “northeast Pennsylvania, far northwest New Jersey, across much of New York State and much of New England.” This comes as a significant nor’easter is forecast to result in widespread power outages and “dangerous to impossible travel,” with snow rates of 2-3″+/hr (totaling 12″ or higher) and gusts of up to 55mph.

The NWS also noted, “Widespread minor and localized moderate coastal flooding and beach erosion are forecast tonight through Wednesday as the low pressure deepens and stalls off the New England coast.