Yet more wind and rain are expected to lash much of California and the Bay Area on Sunday, adding to nearly three weeks of devastating atmospheric river storms that have caused flooding and mudslides across the state while pounding the Sierra Nevada with heaps of snow.
The brunt of the moisture is expected to hit the Bay Area early Sunday afternoon and continue through roughly midday Monday, said Colby Goatley, a National Weather Service meteorologist. It will likely mark the final major blast of precipitation to hit the region for the foreseeable future — potentially offering the state a chance to recover from a near-unceasing line of storms that have killed at least 19 people across California since late December.
Another .5 to 1 inch of rain is expected to fall across San Francisco and Oakland, while 1 to 1.5 inches of rain could fall over San Jose, Livermore and Half Moon Bay. About 1-2 inches of rain are in the forecast for the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Central Coast.
While the rainfall totals aren’t as high as previous storms, Goatley stressed that the region remains at risk of flooding due to extremely saturated soils that simply can’t handle any more water.
“The ground is still saturated,” Goatley said. “There’s still going to be plenty of chance for runoff and localized flooding. We just want everyone to keep paying attention. But hopefully, this is the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The next incoming storm is taking aim at the Central Coast with less rainfall for the North Bay. Steady rain redevelops this afternoon into tonight with lingering showers and t-storms through Monday evening. Dry Tuesday then one last weak system on Weds before dry wx returns. pic.twitter.com/3UUR70zrUY
— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) January 15, 2023
A flood watch remains in effect for almost the entire Bay Area through Monday evening. In addition, a coastal flood advisory also is in effect for areas along the Pacific Coast due to a combination of high tidal cycles, strong winds and heavy runoff.
Winds on Sunday and Monday are expected to be less ferocious than previous atmospheric river storms, with gusts over the urban centers expected to hit 10 to 20 mph, while the higher elevations and coastal regions could see gusts of 20 to 30 mph.
“This is thankfully not quite as mean of a system as the last several events,” Goatley said.
Rain fell over much of the Bay Area on Sunday morning, offering a prelude to the next round of storms later in the day.
As of 7:30 a.m., about two-thirds of an inch of rain fell over most lower-lying portions of the Bay Area during the previous 24 hours, according to rain gauges maintained by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. San Jose received up to .43 inches of rain in that span, while up to 1.75 inches fell in the Oakland hills. The Santa Cruz Mountains received anywhere from .91 to 2.56 inches of rain.
To the east, the Sierra is expected to once again get hammered with snow, with 12 to 18 inches of fresh powder expected to fall over Donner and Echo passes through Monday evening. Up to two feet of snow could fall over Ebbetts, Sonora and Tioga passes.
🌧️ Another round of precipitation will bring periods of moderate rain and moderate to heavy mountain snow to interior #NorCal through Monday.
Continue to monitor the latest forecast at https://t.co/WjKBsJmkq2 and road conditions at https://t.co/6jnhwJwcfC #CAwx pic.twitter.com/HPqASvWVjk
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) January 15, 2023
It adds to impressive snowfall totals across the Sierra Nevada in recent weeks, which have pushed the area’s snowpack to twice its normal average for this time of year.
About 7.5 feet of snow fell at the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab near Donner Summit over the last week alone, the weather outpost reported Sunday morning. That included nearly two feet of snow over the last 24 hours and 42.7 inches of snow since Friday morning.
Already, the weather station has received 92% of the snow that it normally receives by April 1.
A final dash of precipitation could hit the Bay Area on Wednesday afternoon, though that system should be nothing like the previous line of storms that have inundated the region over the last few weeks. Rainfall totals on Wednesday are expected to barely reach .1 inches for most of the region during that weather system, Goatley said.
Check back for updates to this developing story.