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The biggest storms of the year are about to reach California, and will arrive across the North Bay late Monday afternoon. The impacts will be large, including local flooding of streets and small streams, traffic tie-ups, and possible wind damage. Rain will continue off and on through the coming weekend.


At midday Monday, the first storm was gathering strength just off the coast with others lined up to the west. (Image 1)

The first storm is one of the largest. It will drop 2.5 to 5 inches of rain across the North Bay in a 24 hour span from late Monday to late on Tueday. Here is a model forecast for its arrival. (Image 2) And the close-up view. (Image 3)

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Winds will pickup late Monday and continue all night into Tuesday. Expect heavy rain most of that time and winds gusting to 35 mph at times in the valley areas, higher in the hills.

Rainfall amounts by Wednesday morning. (Image 4) You might note that amounts over 6 inches are possible in the usual wet spots like Cazadero and Venado.

Wednesday may have sun breaks. Sort of a calm between storms. There will be few of those this week. By early Thursday another storm moves in, then another Friday, and another Saturday, on New Year’s Eve. (Images 5, 6, 7)

It may seem like one continuous storm after Wednesday. And in many ways that’s what it is. There will basically be a hose of moisture pointed at the West Coast for several days, with a strong jet stream carrying it east, into California. (Images 8 and 9)

It is best to give additional rainfall amounts by day. And expect strong winds at times as additional pulses of moisture arrive throughout the week. By Friday morning, total rainfall may look like this. (Image 10) And then by Sunday morning, like this. (Image 11)

Through this weeklong series of storms California will be in the bullseye of moisture plumes, known these days as atmospheric rivers. Scientists are tracking two main moisture surges for Monday-Tuesday (possibly reaching extreme strength) and for Friday-Saturday (moderate strength likely). (Image 12)

All of this moisture is being drawn in from tropical lattitudes, so we can expect mild temperatures all week, with highs in the 50-60 degree range, and lows in the 40s to near 50. (Image 13)

Some very good news is that the rain should add to our reservoir storage, as the first storm will cause soil saturation, allowing increased runoff as the week progresses and the rain keeps falling.

So, get ready for almost daily rain this week, and use caution as you navigate to work, holiday activities, and all of the rest!

More updates to come as they are needed! Say safe!

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