Major California storm this weekend

Just a quick update today due to time constraints…

A rapidly-developing and very impressive storm system is currently centered several hundred miles southwest of San Francisco. As the surface low continues to undergo rapid deepening over the next 12 hours, I expect this system to be even more impressive when it moves ashore overnight Saturday and during the day on Sunday. Yesterday the numerical models were indicating the potential for a historic wind event across much of the state, though recent solutions have backed off from this extreme scenario. At present, the surface low is expected to bottom out near or below 990 mb, which is very impressive for these parts. Though at present this system is not expected to undergo true bombogenesis, the models do sometimes underestimate phases of rapid deepening and so I believe there is still some chance that the minimum central pressure could fall somewhat lower than indicated. Regardless of the exact magnitude of the surface low, a very strong cold front is expected to bring widespread heavy rainfall and strong winds to essentially all of California south of Del Norte County. Wind damage could be significant in some areas, and widespread power outages may occur. In addition, soils are completely saturated in Northern California, so the additional 2-5 inches of liquid this storm is likely to bring will bring the potential for flooding. While mainstem river flooding is unlikely through at least Tuesday, smaller rivers and streams will at risk of overflowing. Flash flooding is also possible in Southern California, as high rain rates occur in complex terrain or in convective downbursts.

Very impressive visiible satellite imagery of developing cyclonic storm on 3-19/2011 (NRL)

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An extremely active March weather pattern is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with additional strong storms and associated flooding/wind concerns through the coming week, especially for NorCal.  Stay tuned…

© 2011 WEATHER WEST


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