California braces for more rain and storms

SAN FRANCISCO – California was bracing for more rainy weather Saturday after rainfall began to batter the northern part of the state and the San Francisco Bay area, the first of several storms approaching from the Pacific increasing the chance of flooding, runoff and land displacements in saturated soils.

The National Weather Service warned of a “relentless parade of atmospheric rivers” in the coming week, bringing heavy rain and mountain snowfall. Atmospheric river storms are long columns of moisture that extend from the Pacific and are capable of causing large amounts of rain and snow.

The wet weather comes after several days of rain in California. A recent series of systems have left thousands of people without power, flooded rivers, inundated streets and killed at least six residents.

The first of the storms is scheduled to arrive Monday, and the weather system has issued a flood watch for a large swath of northern and central California, where 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain is expected through Thursday. Wednesday in the Sacramento area.

In the Los Angeles area, light rain was forecast through the weekend and stormy conditions beginning Monday, with up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of precipitation at the foothills. Strong surf is expected through Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

Since Dec. 26, San Francisco has received more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, while Mammoth Mountain, a popular ski area, received nearly 10 feet (3 meters) of snow, the weather service reported.

The storms won’t be enough to officially end California’s current drought, but they have helped.

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