In an aerial view, a person shovels along a snowy road lined with snow banks piled up by recent and past storms in the Sierra Nevada mountains March 12, 2023 in Mammoth Lakes, California, after an atmospheric flow event.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
The east and west coasts face a “Double Strike” of mighty storms Tuesday, with storm-hit California potentially facing “catastrophic” flooding as the Northeast prepares for a mighty NE, forecasters said.
A coastal low was expected to rapidly strengthen into a major northeast that will significantly affect the Northeast through Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
The Weather Service warned early Tuesday that speeds of 2 to 3 inches plus per hour and strong winds are expected to make travel “dangerous to impossible”. It said the heavily wet nature of the snow combined with maximum wind gusts of 55mph would also likely cause power outages and damage to trees.
Travel was already impacted by severe weather early Tuesday as Delta Air Lines imposed a ground stop at LaGuardia Airport until at least 6:30 a.m. ET due to snow and ice.
Snowfall totals of 12 inches or more have been forecast over swaths of New England and upstate New York, with localized maximum totals of 24 to 30 inches possible, it said.
The National Grid said in a statement that its storm preparedness team is “monitoring the weather forecast and preparing to ensure the reliability of the power system” ahead of the Northeast.
On Monday night, the Nor’easter had brought heavy rain to Philadelphia as it moved up the east coast. Five counties in New Jersey were under a weather-related emergency, and up to a foot of snow was expected along Pennsylvania’s I-80 corridor, according to the National Weather Service.
“Life and property” in danger in California
In CaliforniaThe National Weather Service warned that excessive rainfall over parts of the state’s central and southern areas could cause “severe, widespread flash flooding” that could endanger “life and property.”
The warning came as a front stretching from the northern Rocky Mountains to central California was expected to bring a wave of onshore low pressure across the Golden State on Tuesday, the weather service said.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rain to parts of California while high-elevation areas face heavy snowfall. Heavy rainfall is also expected in Oregon and the Great Basin, it said.
The storm could cause significant to “locally catastrophic flooding impacts” for parts of California as it moves southward across much of California’s coast, central valley and Sierra Nevada foothills, the weather service said.
“Heavy rain combined with snowmelt on terrain below 5,000 feet will result in more widespread flooding Tuesday through Wednesday, particularly at low elevations and areas with shallow snowpack,” the weather service said.
“Heavy rain absorbed by the particularly deep snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, along with heavy snow measured in feet over approximately 7,500 feet, will further exacerbate ongoing snow load impacts and problems,” the weather service said.
The Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center issued a high risk of excessive precipitation over parts of central/southern California through Wednesday morning in preparation for the storm’s impact.
“Areas not normally affected by flash floods will be inundated,” the weather service said, warning that “lives and property are in grave danger from Tuesday through Wednesday.”
A National Weather Service forecast discussion covering the San Francisco Bay Area Monday night through Tuesday said, “Strong damaging winds, power outages, additional flooding and road closures are expected.”
“Avoid unnecessary travel and complete all preparations as soon as possible,” it said.
The risk of excessive rain Wednesday over parts of Southern California and the Southwest should decline to a marginal risk by Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.
A man helps Naomi Rodriguez (R) walk through flood water on Saturday March 11, 2023 in Pajaro, California.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
California is battling a series of storms
The new storm round follows Big floods and strong winds at the weekend.
More than 200 people in the lowlands north of Salinas were rescued by first responders, including members of the California National Guard, authorities said at a news conference Monday a video showing a member of the Guard helping a driver out of a car trapped in the water.
Monterey County, a national center of agriculture, was badly hit by the weekend storm. An estimated 2,000 residents of the town of Pajaro were evacuated after a 300-foot breach in an adjacent river dike opened early Saturday, officials said.
A second, smaller rupture near the mouth of the river was reported Monday, Monterey County spokeswoman Maia Carroll said. Officials believe this could be beneficial.
“The water flows into the ocean and relieves flooding upstream,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento National Weather Service confirmed Monday that a tornado made landfall in the Tuttletown area, about 50 miles west of Yosemite National Park, on Saturday. Forecasters said it was an EF-1 vortex, meaning it had sustained winds of at least 79 mph. The weather service said the tornado was accompanied by severe thunderstorms and hail.
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