Sunday, February 19, 2017

Next big round of storms to bring more flooding to NorCal

In the photos, which I took yesterday, flood waters inundate Maxwell and rice ground near Williams. More flooding could come with the storm that's arriving this evening.

From the National Weather Service:
Main message for interior NorCal is that residents should be prepared for flooding, heavy snow, and wind damage. Wet pattern continues across the region through Wednesday, with the wettest storm expected Monday and Tuesday. Recent storms have left the region highly vulnerable, so significant impacts will be possible with additional rainfall. Strong, damaging winds expected Monday in the Valley and along the Sierra crest which will heighten storm impacts. Snow levels around 5500 feet today and expected to rise Monday to near pass levels (6000-7000 feet). On Tuesday, snow levels lower below pass levels again. Motorists should check CalTrans and be cautious of hazardous mountain travel.

We could see flooding in areas that haven't flooded in a long time with additional stress on levees, rivers, creeks & streams
Mudslides & rockslides could cause mountain roads to be impassable for days
Numerous downed trees & long-lasting power outages, especially Monday
Hazardous mountain travel with chain controls, delays, road closures

Forecast Confidence
High through Tuesday
Medium Tuesday PM - Wednesday

Timing and Strength

Lighter showers, mainly across the mountains and north of I-80
Snow levels around 5500 feet with light additional accumulations
Continued river rises and localized flooding
Tonight - Tuesday
Heavy rain & snow, wettest storm of the series with greatest impacts
Strong, damaging winds with gusts of 45-55mph in the Valley, 55+ along Sierra crest
Snow levels rise above pass levels Monday, lowering again Tuesday to between 4000 and 5000 feet
Additional river rises and area-wide flooding
Late Tuesday - Wednesday
Secondary surge of moisture though not as wet as Monday-Tuesday
Snow levels lower to around 4000 feet
Continued river rises and flooding
A word about checking Caltrans' road reports: After you do that, maybe check social media and other media reports, too. Traffic was backed up for 4 hours in each direction yesterday on Interstate 5 by flooding in the roadway, through which police had to escort two and three cars at a time, and not one word of this was mentioned on Caltrans' website. The only report from I-5 in Northern California was some one-lane traffic near Willows, which we got through without a problem.

Much of the flooded ground in the Williams-Maxwell area is rice ground, which hasn't been planted this early in the year. In fact, many growers put water on their fields in the winter for the soil, although not this much water. Nonetheless, heavy winds in the next few days could cause havoc in orchards where the ground is already saturated, and this weather can't be good for bee activity during the almond bloom. Keep watch here and at

I'm also working on a major project relating to the 10-year anniversary of the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. Much more on that in the coming days.

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