Jan 9, 2017

Fire-hose storm induces road-closing mudslides and major flooding in California

Olympic Valley, CA
Angela Fritz
Washington Post
Rainfall totals since Friday. Photo: National Weather Service
Rainfall totals since Friday. Photo: National Weather Service

An atmospheric river of rain and snow is pouring on California, drenching the state with more than 12 inches of precipitation in some locations. The storm, which is the second in a series of three, has caused dangerous mudslides, flash flooding, hurricane-force winds and avalanches and prompted officials to close major roads.

Given the rain and snow reports over the past week, and what the National Weather Service is expecting through the middle of January, this year may have the potential to be a blockbuster — exactly what California needs to get its multiyear drought under control.

Squaw Valley ski resort reported an incredible 173-mph wind gust on its 8,700-foot peak Sunday morning. The National Weather Service in Reno doesn’t keep official records at that location, but it was the highest gust any of the forecasters could recall.

The Truckee River in Reno crested at 12.3 feet — more than three feet over flood stage — early Monday. It was the highest crest since the historic flood of 2005 when the river rose to 15.7 feet.

San Francisco has seen more rain during the first eight days of 2017 than it did in all of 2013, noted Capital Weather Gang contributor Phil Klotzbach. North of San Francisco, the Napa River rose Sunday to nearly 27 feet, or five feet above flood stage, which was just three feet short of the record flood in 1995.

Officials have logged more than 100 reports of flooding or landslides in California between Sunday morning and Monday morning, weather.com reports, and the Sierra Avalanche Center said there was considerable avalanche danger above and below the tree line Monday.