California Drought Report #78: Drenching rain over snow pack- FLOOD



In the winter of 1981-82 the Sacramento Valley flooded, with water levels rising to the second floor of buildings along the Sacramento River. After the flood city officials raised structures at least one floor. Part of the problem was warm rain melting earlier snow packs, flooding the valley.

We are about to experience a similar event this weekend. With four to six feet of snow on the ground, torrential rains are forecast to 8,500 feet in the Sierra, resulting in a flood warming. Sierra rain is forecast to be 10-15 inches this weekend. Streams will rise to flood levels through the Sierra as the warm rain melts the snow pack.

Flooding may not rise to the degree of the 1882-83 of flooding, as the atmospheric rivers of moisture the Pineapple Express may not be as intense as in 1862-63 and modern flood control systems will moderate the flood waters some, but they could be overwhelmed. Stay tuned; flooding is on the horizon.

[Edited to correct dates]

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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2 Responses to California Drought Report #78: Drenching rain over snow pack- FLOOD

  1. Russ says:

    ‘State of panic’ grips Northern California as atmospheric river approaches the Sierra Nevada

    “People are definitely in a state of panic right now,” said El Dorado County sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Hammitt. “We’re getting a lot of calls asking if we’re going to be able to deal with everything. It’s the general pandemonium of not knowing what’s coming.”

    Link includes some awesome graphics.


  2. Russ says:

    Anthony Watts at WUWT has some details on the atmospheric river taking aim at California.

    A 1 in 10 year storm event is expected to hit Northern California this weekend. Rainfall totals could easily be twice the average precipitation for January.

    An atmospheric river will take aim with heavy precipitation, high snow levels and soils that are already saturated from recent storms. Precipitation starts Saturday, but the brunt of the storm will be Sunday & Monday. Forecasters say this will exceed stream and river flood levels last seen in 2005.

    More details HERE:


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