Austin (KXAN) – People in California are preparing for a new series of storms in the next few days. Heavy rain and snow are already falling across most of the state on Monday as an atmospheric river brings relentless moisture to the area.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging state residents to take the danger of the hurricane seriously, urging people to be prepared for possible flood evacuation orders. Monday afternoon Montecito Fire Department called for the evacuation of the community of Montecito. The area has a population of 8,600 as of the 2020 Census.
Up to 35 million people are on flood alert statewide, with up to a foot of rain and several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Winter weather advisories extend as far east as Utah and Wyoming. Rainfall won’t be the only life-threatening issue with this storm. Strong wind warnings are in place for much of California with wind gusts up to 70 mph expected. Hurricane-force winds will blow away trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages.
The weather forecast office in Hanford, California is urging people to stay at home and not go out.
A whopping seven feet of extra snow could be seen on some mountain peaks. Ski resorts continue to be clogged with snow. Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort reports up to 180 inches of snow fell this season, with several feet more expected in the next series of storms.
So far, the latest series of storms has brought 10 years of snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains. The northern part of the Sierra has already received 165% of the average annual snowfall, while the southern part of the state has received up to 216% of the average annual snowfall.
The good news is that this snow and accumulated snowpack will bring a huge improvement to the California watershed in the coming months. As a result of snowmelt during the upcoming summer heat wave, this runoff will be directed to reservoirs throughout the area, from where it can be channeled across the state during the dry season.