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A series of moist atmospheric waves off the Pacific Ocean will bring moderate to heavy rainfall to California over the next 4 days.

The storms may be splitting as they approach the state, with lots of rain aimed at Northern California, and a large amount headed south. The first surge of moisture will arrive Friday afternoon, and rain or showers will be nearly continuous through early Monday.


The satellite picture Friday shows the moist atmospheric waves approaching from the west.

The jet stream shows signs of splitting, with a strong southern jet developing. This will direct a lot of the incoming rain toward Central and Southern California. Still, we’ll definitely get our share here in the North Bay.

The first wave will last from late Friday through early Saturday, with another reinforcing wave expected late Saturday. Still, to most it may just feel like one continuous storm here in the North Bay.

By Sunday morning, our rainfall will begin to add up. Perhaps one to two inches across the North Bay.

The first two waves through Sunday morning will be focused on Northern California.

The final big wave of moisture will arrive Sunday afternoon across the North Bay. This may be the wettest period of the 4 day storm series. There will not really be any long breaks between storms, so the rain may appear to be almost non-stop from late Friday onward.

As you can see, the jet stream is expected to pull much of this final wave toward Southern California. Still, here in the North Bay our rain totals will keep adding up, with the totals from Friday through Monday reaching amounts of 3-5 inches. (and up to 8 inches in the hills)

By late in the weekend expect some minor flooding on the flashy creeks and low lying areas of the North Bay. Still, none of the major rivers are expected to reach monitor or flood stage except the Russian River at Hopland, which may experience some minor flooding by late Saturday and on Monday. Also, a flood watch has been issued for low lying and flood prone areas of Mendocino, Trinity, Humboldt and Lake counties for Saturday.

The National Blend of Models averages the output from most of the major forecast models. This is the forecast for total rainfall through late Monday.


A final small system may brush us with showers on Wednesday, but by Friday the 26th the jet stream will be directed away from California with a high pressure ridge bringing us dry weather. This dry weather may last through the end of the month of January.

Finally, after a dry final week of January there are signs that wet weather may return to California in the first few days of February.

We’ll keep an eye on trends and post additional updates as necessary. Stay tuned!

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