Here it is, the rain we’ve been missing all season, but its coming in the worst way possible – all at once. It’s good and bad news… Suddenly, our weather is shifting from drought to flood, and one of those atmospheric rivers is going over its banks and delivering lots of rain and snow to the Golden State.
This shift was rather sudden. We went from a hard frost warning to dire warnings of intense rain in the valleys and up to 10 feet of snow in the Sierras. We certainly need the water; at my place we had less than an inch total accumulation for the entire season. But we all know what happens when it comes all at once. The flooding could be historic, especially in the burned zones left by those incredible wildfires we had last summer.
Acciweather says that the most rainfall will be along the west side of the coastal ranges of Northern and Central California, and in the western foothills of the Sierra, below the snow line. rainfall totals of 8-12 inches will be possible in the wettest areas, with at least 4 inches predicted everywhere. Fortunately, many of our reservoirs have room for more water. The ground was relatively dry at the start of the storm, and recharge basins in the valleys are empty.
Mountain passes in and out of the valley, including intestate 80 over Donner Pass and I-5 through the Grapevine, as well as all alternate routes like Tehachapi pass, are expected to be closed due to the heave snow.
The storm from the ‘atmospheric river’ event is exoected to end by Saturday.
About the Author
Len Wilcox is a retired scientist who also ran a newspaper and has written for agricultural publications since the 1980s. He was a regular contributor to California Farmer Magazine. His commentary “The Western View” is a regular feature on Farm City Newsday and AgNet West.