All aboard the Pineapple Express!
Forecasters are telling us to prepare for high winds and heavy rainfall over the next several days. A line of Pacific storms is set to sweep through Northern California starting tonight. By the time it moves through on Sunday, it could go down as a major weather event.
There might not be much in this for skiers--or the Sierra snowpack, which ended last season on the thin side.
“Snow won't be a major concern,” says Johnnie Powell, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “Snow levels are going to be above 7,000 feet, so it's a very warm storm in nature.” (Snow elevations could start out at the 5,000-6,000-foot level but then "quickly rise" to 7,000 or higher.)
And it’s a wet one. Powell says the stage is set for what forecasters call the "Pineapple Express," a series of systems that pick up moisture from the tropics and dump it on our doorstep. In its most extreme form, meteorologists refer to these as “atmospheric rivers.” Some lower elevations could see seven inches of rain through Sunday, with as much as 18 inches possible in the mountains -- that's more than a foot of rain, spaced out mercifully over several days.
“The biggest concern of all is where we had the fires during the summer,” says Powell. “They may have some debris flooding in some areas near the fires, because they just don't have the right soil [conditions].”