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Battered Central California braces for next storm beginning Monday

Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Flooding continued along several Central California rivers Saturday after this week's devastating storm, but emergency response officials are increasingly optimistic that the worst may be over for now.

A new storm forecast for early next week was trending southward, away from the Central Valley and coastal areas that saw severe flooding in the 11th atmospheric river to hit the state this rainy season. A weaker and colder storm will bring snow and lighter, steady rain to Southern California.

Up to 2 feet of snow is forecast for San Bernardino Mountain communities. Colder temperatures should bring the snow level below 4,000 feet, reducing the likelihood of flooding from rain-melted runoff.

Historic snowfall this month stranded dozens of people and damaged buildings in the San Bernardino Mountains and was considered a factor in 13 deaths.

"We're not looking at flash flooding," said Samantha Connolly, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's San Diego station, which covers San Bernardino County. "Minor flooding could occur on low-water crossings."

Southern California coastal and valley communities can expect rainfall of "significant and long duration but light to moderate" intensity Monday night through Wednesday, said meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld of the National Weather Service's Los Angeles-Oxnard station.


The midday forecast Saturday called for 11/2 to 21/2 inches in the flatlands and up to 5 inches in the foothills and mountains, Schoenfeld said. Peak rainfall should be no more than half an inch per hour.

Snowfall is expected as low as 5,500 Monday, lowering to below 4,000 feet Wednesday with up to 3 feet falling on the higher peaks and 3 to 4 inches at the Grapevine.

The southward shift is taking pressure off the central part of the state, where flooding in recent storms caused severe damage and upended thousands of lives.

In the southern San Joaquin Valley, the raging Tule River washed out homes in the foothill community of Springville.


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