More storms are set to slam Northern California and other parts of the West Coast this weekend, threatening heavy rain late Friday to places already struggling with flooding from a separate system that killed at least two people.
After much of California was lashed with heavy rain and damaging winds Wednesday and Thursday that flooded roads, toppled trees and knocked out power to most across the state, daytime Friday will bring some relief before another storm moves in at night.
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“California continues to take the brunt of the heavy precipitation and strong winds associated with these systems as we head into the first full weekend of 2023,” the National Weather Service said early Friday morning.
Torrential rain is expected Friday night in Northern California and southwest Oregon, with the heaviest rain falling along the coastal ranges where flash flooding also is expected, according to the weather service.
By Saturday night into early Sunday, heavy rain is expected shift toward central California, the forecasters said.
This weekend’s forecast comes as about 60,000 homes and businesses in California are still in the dark from a deadly storm system that over the past two days whipped up damaging winds, dangerously heavy rainfall and heavy snow in much of the state as well as southern Oregon. Before that, a New Year’s weekend storm system also had produced flooding.
The deluges have occurred as California has been enveloped by drought and faced fierce wildfires that have scarred the landscape. Now, much of the state cannot bare to absorb more moisture without the possibility of even more flooding.
Over the coming weekend, “additional rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with locally higher totals forecast for northern California will likely exacerbate flooding concerns over already saturated soil,” the weather service warned.
Excessive rain proved deadly Wednesday when a 19-year-old woman died after crashing her car into a utility pole on a partially flooded road in Northern California, the Fairfield Police Department said. The driver hit “a patch of standing water and hydroplaned, losing control of the vehicle, before colliding into a utility pole,” police explained.
A young child – about age 1 or 2 – was killed Wednesday after a redwood tree fell on a home in Sonoma County in Northern California, Occidental Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ron Lunardi said.
In nearby San Francisco, some saw localized flooding, mudslides and sinkholes as of Wednesday evening, said Mary Ellen Carol, executive director of the city’s emergency management department.
Indeed, San Francisco experienced its wettest 10-day period on record for downtown since 1871, according to a Thursday tweet from the local weather service. The area soaked up more than 10 inches of rain between December 26 and Wednesday, the agency said.
Strong waves along the shores of Capitola in Santa Cruz County damaged piers as flooding inundated local businesses.
Weather alerts beyond some that expired Friday are expected to be issued this weekend for places due for a mix of rain and snow. Here’s what’s forecast for millions:
• Friday night: Heavy rain arrives in Northern California.
• Saturday: The accrual of back-to-back heavy rainfall events could lead to even more significant flood impacts possibly including rising waters and mudslides in Northern and central California. Flash flooding and debris flows are also possible.
“By Saturday night into early Sunday, the next moisture-laden Pacific cyclone is forecast to approach California with the next onslaught of heavy rain once again aiming for northern California,” the weather service said.
• Also Saturday: An additional 1 to 2 feet of snow threaten to make travel dangerous in areas above 5,000 feet in mountains of Northern and central California, the Weather Prediction Center said.