Level 5 atmospheric river to unleash flooding across drought-stricken California

Erie News Now

After nearly a year without rain, a series of potent Pacific storms are directed at Northern California this week, potentially bringing as much as a foot of rainfall and up to three feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada.

Supercharged by a classic atmospheric river pattern, the storms could lead to flash floods and dangerous debris flows in a wide swath of the region already devastated by recent wildfires.

With each successive storm, the moisture potential increases, peaking with possibly a rare category 5 atmospheric river event on Sunday.

“An atmospheric river marked as a category 4 or a 5 is capable of producing remarkable rainfall totals over three or more days, likely to exceed 10-15% of a typical year’s precipitation in some locations,” said Marty Ralph, director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego.

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