Another powerful winter storm system that is evolving into a “bomb cyclone” is set to hit California this week, bringing heavy rains, damaging winds, and snow to much of the state, according to experts.
The latest storm is a “hybrid” of two storms that joined forces over the northeastern Pacific Ocean late on Sunday and began hitting the northwestern part of the state late on Monday, according to AccuWeather.
After setting in the northwestern part of California, the storm system will then advance south through central and southern areas into Tuesday and Wednesday before rolling into the western and southwestern United States amid colder conditions, experts said.
In an update on Twitter, the National Weather Service (NWS) said that winter storm warnings were already in effect for heavy snow and strong winds in the mountainous area of Sierra and northeast California.
Multiple other storm watches and advisories are in effect across various parts of the state.
Heavy Rains, Strong Winds Expected
“A powerful Pacific storm system will begin to approach the West Coast on Monday. Moisture spreading inland will significantly increase precipitation chances across northern California and the Pacific Northwest,” NWS said on March 28.
Experts said the heaviest rainfall is expected Tuesday along coastal Central California, while there is a slight risk of excessive rainfall along the coastal mountains, as “incoming warmer air acts to raise snow levels and increase the threat of runoff into downstream rivers, especially as the entire region remains sensitive to the risk of flooding given very wet antecedent conditions.”
Very heavy snow is likely to hit the mountainous areas of Sierra and the northern Coast Ranges through Tuesday, with snow reaching up to several feet, making travel conditions difficult, NWS said.
Rains will continue through Wednesday NWS said, although AccuWeather forecasters said lighter rainfall could still linger as late as Thursday in Southern California before the storm finally leaves.
The latest “hybrid” storm system comes just a week after a powerful bomb cyclone slammed the golden state, bringing intense flooding, thunderstorms, and hurricane-force winds of up to 70 to 80 mph at higher elevations, and 50 to 60 mph at lower elevations.
Five people were killed and thousands were left without power as the storm bought down power lines. The bomb cyclone also spawned tornadoes in the cities of Montebello and Carpinteria Los Angeles.
AccuWeather forecasters said the latest storm will also bring strong winds, particularly in Northern California around the Bay Area where winds could reach up to 50 or 60 mph and could again leave many residents without power.
Dangerous Blizzard Conditions
On Twitter, utility company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) said crews are “ready to respond to this week’s Spring storm” but called on customers to prepare for outages.
“The 15th major storm event of 2023 will arrive in Northern and Central California overnight tonight with gusty winds, moderate to heavy rain, and mountain snow expected until Tuesday and Wednesday,” PG&E said in a notice on Monday.
“PG&E’s meteorologists are forecasting the storm will be most severe in the company’s Humboldt and Peninsula divisions with our North Bay, North Valley, Sierra, East Bay, Diablo, De Anza, and Central Coast divisions also expected to see significant impacts,” the company said.
The utility giant added that snow levels could reach 2,000 to 3,000 feet on Tuesday across the North, while parts of Lake County, Humboldt, and the Redding area could potentially receive one to three inches of snow.
Winds of up to 100 mph are also possible in the mountains, which when combined with heavy snow could create dangerous blizzard conditions, AccuWeather forecasters said.
“With an already saturated ground due to recent heavy rain, downed trees and power outages are a real concern,” AccuWeather meteorologist Andrew Johnson-Levine said.