Though the 10th atmospheric river to hit California this winter wrapped up this weekend, another is right on its heels today.
The storm system is set to hit the Sacramento region Monday into Tuesday, bringing more rain, mountain snow and valley flood dangers. Here's what happened this weekend and what to expect over the coming days.
Flood concerns remain throughout Northern California
A flood watch is in effect starting at noon and running through Wednesday for much of Northern California from north of Redding down to the Bay Area and Merced, including the Sacramento Valley and many areas in the foothills.
Craig Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said there is potential for small stream flooding and added that some rivers in the region could hit flood stage as the main band of the atmospheric river hits Monday night.
"We're expecting quite a bit of flooding impacts on Monday into Tuesday when a lot of those rivers are expected to crest," Shoemaker said.
Some of the main areas at risk of flooding will be the same that were hit hardest during the January storms, including the Cosumnes River near Michigan Bar, the Sacramento River near Ord Ferry and Tehama Bridge, and the Tuolumne River near Modesto.
"It's a little similar to what we had Jan. 1," he said. " We're not expecting quite as much rain and the rivers aren't as high, but it could be similar."
This system will also bring high winds, with gusts as strong as 50 mph possible in the valleys and even the foothills.
This weekend a tornado briefly touched down in Tuolumne County near Tuttletown, where major thunderstorms dropped quarter-sized hail on the region and caused flash-flooding around Sonara and Jamestown.
Thousands evacuated in Monterey County
Shoemaker said flooding was limited in the Sacramento region as the brunt of this weekend's storm hit further south, where areas in the central part of the state saw major issues.
Across Monterey County, more than 8,500 people were evacuated Saturday, including roughly 1,700 residents — many of them Latino farmworkers — from the unincorporated community of Pajaro.
“We are still in disaster response mode,” said Monterey County spokesman Nicholas Pasculli on Sunday. He said the county is staging high water rescue teams around the county and opening more shelters in anticipation of more flooding.
Governor Gavin Newsom extended a state of emergency declaration to six additional counties Saturday, bringing the total to 40. President Joe Biden on Friday approved a Presidential Disaster Declaration because of the ongoing impacts of recent storms.
Winter storm warning remains in the Sierra
This weekend's storm was warmer than recent ones, which have hammered many areas throughout the Sierra Nevada.
Over the past two days, more than 20 inches of snow fell at a measuring station in the Sierra Nevada, and more is expected. The snowpack is now nearly twice the average, and the highest in about four decades, according to UC Berkeley's Central Sierra Snow Lab.
While there was concern that the rain could melt enough of that snowpack to exacerbate flooding concerns, Shoemaker said that depth helped prevent that from happening.
"The more snow that you have, the more of that water gets absorbed into it, like a sponge," he said.
This next round is expected to bring another 2-6 feet of snow above 6,500 feet, with nearly a foot possible above 8,000 feet. A winter storm warning remains in effect until Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Drier weather is expected Wednesday
Shoemaker with the weather service said this latest storm is forecast to let up Wednesday, with a short period of drier conditions.
"It looks like a break in the precipitation Wednesday afternoon that will last through Thursday," he said.
Another system could come through next weekend, though he said it currently looks to be weaker than the most recent storms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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