Round 3: More Winter Weather to Hit L.A. as Atmospheric River Flows Through California

Flooding, mudslides, more mountain snow, and strong wind are possible in parts of California north of and including Santa Barbara

While the annual moment coming this Sunday when we spring our clocks forward is a harbinger of the turning of the season, winter weather isn’t quite done with Los Angeles and the rest of California just yet.

AccuWeather reported Tuesday that a new atmospheric river of precipitation will flow through the state from Friday to Saturday, with most of the winter weather landing on northern and central California and L.A. expected to receive more rain.

“Most of the rain this time is going to be on the light to moderate side. The winds aren’t going to be too terribly strong, but we are going to see periods of gusty winds, especially on Wednesday,” KTLA 5 News Meteorologist Vera Jimenez forecasts.

However, AccuWeather meteorologists are warning that cities north of and including Santa Barbara will face a high-impact storm with the potential to cause flooding, mudslides, feet of mountain snow, and very strong wind gusts between Thursday night and Saturday.

“Additional storms are expected into next week–which also may tap into a 2,000-plus-mile feed of deep subtropical Pacific moisture yielding heavy rain at lower elevations and heavy snow in the mountains,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter.

Round 2 of these ongoing winter weather storms hit at the end of February, dumping such a deluge of precipitation on the state that much of it has been rescued from severe drought.

“We have seen a tremendous improvement,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said. “This was not expected for this winter, it was not expected to be this kind of winter, but we’ve been given a gift in California.”

Andrew Schwartz, the lead scientist at UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab, told LAMag last week that blizzard conditions in the mountains this month will only further resolve the drought.

“If we get 15 feet over the next month, we’re going to be looking pretty good for resolving not just short-term drought, but some of our longer-term droughts as well,” Schwartz said.

However, the flip side of a denser snowpack is an increased chance of flooding.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty worries a surge of warm air at the onset of the storm may melt some of that snow, where an estimated 2-6 inches of water remains locked up—until 2-4 inches of rain in above-freezing temperatures liquefies that snow, leading to up to 10 inches of water rushing through streams and rivers in hours.

“It is at the intermediate elevations, starting around 2,000 feet, up to about 5,000 feet, where enough rain will fall to cause some of the existing snowpack to melt and add to the runoff,” Douty said.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Johnson-Levine has good news for Angelinos and SoCal mountain communities, like Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Idyllwild.

“Unlike the big storm from late February, the heaviest rain and snow is likely to aim toward Northern California, leaving the Los Angeles and San Diego areas with only light precipitation,” he said. “This will allow many mountain communities in Southern California, such as Big Bear Lake, to continue cleanup and recovery after the recent record-breaking snowfall.”

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