Apologies for going dark for ten days. I headed up to play in the snow with the family and forgot to bring the lap top. Getting here late to the game, we are expecting a huge rain event for the state starting about now. An atmospheric river is about to plow over us and drop 10 inches of rain on the Sierra by late tomorrow. This is going to cause tremendous snow melt and flooding down stream. The Truckee river is expected to spill over its banks in Reno tomorrow. Rivers flowing toward the delta in California will also reach flood levels. Best to avoid driving as much as possible after mid day today. Now lets looks at the details.
Rain has already moved in this morning. Hope you are prepared. Heavy rain will fill in this afternoon, dropping about two inches here in town over the next 24 hours. We have strong southeast winds this morning. That is an odd direction for us to have strong winds, so some of you may be finding it quite gusty this morning. Winds lighten as the day goes on, but the rain just intensifies. High in the upper 50s. On Sunday rain continues, with another two to three inches falling by mid day Monday. The Monday morning commute is going to hellacious. We will have seen about 4-5 inches of rain by Monday morning, so that means mud slides, downed trees and very wet roads. Leave early, give space, and take your time. This is likely the biggest rain event since December of 2011. It is going to be insane. As of this morning the AR is still aimed right at us.
Rain tapers on Monday, with a low of about 50 and a high around 55. Light rain, with maybe a tenth or two in town and a quarter inch in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Monday might be the best day to get outside and play. Colder air moves in late in the day. A second AR takes aim at us on Tuesday. This system will not be quite as wet, but we could be looking at another 2 inches by late Wednesday. Overnight lows drop into the mid to upper 40s, but daytime highs linger in the mid 50s.
We see another short break late on Wednesday, as we prepare for a third system to arrive Thursday. This is the weakest of the bunch and will drop less than an inch of rain likely. Typically and inch of rain is something to talk about, but as we are expecting 8-10" of rain locally over the next seven days, a one inch storm sounds week. But reread that total. It is quite impressive.
The GFS models bring more storms next weekend. The Euro and Canadian models give us a short break. As we are seven days out, we will need to look at this as we get closer. The models all bring back significant rain the week of January 16th, so it does look like the wet weather is to continue.
Seriously, holy cow. Get your flashlights ready. Buy a few gallons of water. Expect the power to go out. Make a reservation for a matinee. Be careful, be safe and be happy that we are going to see even more parts of the state emerge from drought. As of last Tuesday (before the several inches of rain that fell on Wednesday) we had 18.07% of the state completely out of drought and only 18.31% of the state in Exceptional Drought (the worse level). When the monitoring group recalculates next week, I expect that more of the state will be out of drought than labeled Exceptional. In fact, it is possible to see more than 50% listed as Normal or just Abnormally Dry. Currently we have 32.45% of the state in this grouping. 90% of Santa Cruz County is listed in this grouping, but we need to see most of the state listed as such. Lets weather these storms and see where we sit next week.