A colossal storm that triggered a snow emergency in Anchorage, Alaska, last week is now on the move, and its next destination is California, where it’s set to deliver several days of rain—the most substantial rainfall since Tropical Storm Hilary.
This mammoth storm system initially wreaked havoc in the Gulf of Alaska, where it astonishingly dumped over five feet of snow in less than a day on Thompson Pass. Now, it’s making its way towards the West Coast, albeit at a leisurely pace.
The FOX Forecast Center explains that “while this mostly offshore track may limit widespread impactful rain, it will also lengthen the period of time that rain will be in the forecast.” For Northern California cities like San Francisco, Sacramento, and Redding, this means the rain could persist from Tuesday through Saturday, marking three consecutive days of precipitation—a rare occurrence in these areas since May.
There’s an intriguing possibility that this storm could have a tropical connection, directing the Pineapple Express onto the coast, potentially resulting in heavy rainfall.
The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes predicts that “significant amounts of moisture will be drawn northward into the system,” and the arrival of at least one atmospheric river is highly likely. This could bring widespread rain and snow to the West Coast and inland regions.
Here’s a breakdown of the storm’s timing and potential impact:
Tuesday: The low-pressure system moves off the coast of Northern California, separating itself from the jet stream.
Wednesday and Thursday: The low meanders off the coast, potentially causing at least three days of rain. By Thursday, the threat of flash flooding emerged due to saturated soil from previous rainfall.
Thursday and Friday: This storm could bring rain to Southern California, marking a significant event for the region, particularly in areas like Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, where some locations may receive up to an inch of precipitation.
While this storm poses challenges, it also carries opportunities for California, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which is expected to receive its first substantial snowfall of the season. However, the exact snowfall amounts remain uncertain, depending on the storm’s track. Nonetheless, at least a foot of snow is expected across the higher peaks of the southern Sierra, with the most significant snowfall likely occurring from Thursday through the weekend.
As this monster storm journeys from Alaska to California, it serves as a reminder of the dynamic and impactful nature of weather systems, impacting regions in diverse ways, from heavy snowfall to essential rainfall.