AUSTIN (KXAN) — People in California are bracing for a new series of storms over the next few days. Heavy rain and snow is already falling for much of the state on Monday as an atmospheric river brings unrelenting moisture back to the area.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging people in the state to take the storm dangers seriously, telling people to be ready for potential evacuation orders due to flooding. On Monday afternoon, the Montecito Fire Department called for the evacuation of the Montecito community. The area has a population of 8,600 people, according to 2020 Census numbers.
Up to 35 million people are under flood alerts across the state with the potential for up to a foot of rain and several feet of snow for the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Winter Weather Advisories extend as far eastward as Utah and Wyoming. Precipitation will not be the sole life-threatening issue with this storm, High Wind Warnings are in effect for much of California with up to 70 mph wind gusts expected. Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines and as a result, widespread power outages are expected.
The Weather Forecast office in Hanford, CA is urging people to stay home and off the roads.
Some mountain peaks could see a whopping seven feet of additional snow. Ski resorts continue to get hammered with snow. Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort is reporting up to 180 inches of snow so far this season with another several feet expected with this next series of storms.
So far, the last series of storms brought a 10-year high snowpack for the Sierra Nevada mountains. The northern Sierra’s have already seen 165% of their annual average snowfall, while the southern part of the state has seen up to 216% of their annual average.
The good news is that this snow and stored snowpack will bring a tremendous improvement to the California watershed through the coming months. The snowmelt during the upcoming summer heat will trickle that runoff into the area-wide reservoirs where it can be sent throughout the state during the dry season.