Storm heads to Southern California; more rain expected near Oroville Dam

Storm heads to Southern California; more rain expected near Oroville Dam

Kerry Wise
February 18, 2017

The drought-busting wet weather in California began Thursday with a fast-moving front that traveled across Northern California, and dropped.36 inches of rain on San Francisco.

Authorities and residents in Southern California are preparing for a slow-moving storm that could become the biggest rainmaker of the past six years, with possible flooding and mudslides accompanying the deluge.

The downpours in other heavily populated areas of Southern California, including parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties also recently hit by wildfires, could create the risk of mud and debris flows there too, the weather service said.

Rain was also forecast for Northern California and southern OR, where the weather service issued a flood warning until Friday afternoon. But the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles County tweeted wind advisories in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valley mid-morning, recommending high-profile vehicles stay off roadways as the storm moves in from the northwest. "Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches or rocks and capsize small boats near shore". Rainfall over the next seven days could total more than 12 inches.

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A powerful storm system is forecast to pummel Southern California Friday into Saturday with strong winds, flooding rain, and even mountain snow. It follows a quick-moving system Thursday that delivered modest rainfall totals, ranging from almost 2 inches in Venado in Sonoma County, 1.33 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains and less than a half-inch in most cities. The flash flood watch for the Inland area takes effect at noon today and will expire at 4 p.m. Saturday, the weather service reports.

At the same time, the mountains will be swept by south-to-southeast winds of between 35 and 50 miles per hour, gusting to 70 mph, according to the NWS. The snow level will vary from as low as 6,000 early Friday to 8,000 feet Friday night, then fall back to 6,000 feet.

Still, most people were starting to get skeptical. A winter storm warning will be in force in the San Gabriel mountains from Friday morning through Saturday morning.