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The Return of Heavy Rain

Here’s a look at your forecast for Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and southern Santa Clara Counties!

A cold upper-level low to our north will send one more round of rain through our area on Wednesday morning. The pattern will then shift for the end of the week as a plume of warmer, moist air is directed at the California Coast. A storm system to our north will tap into this moisture which will likely mean moderate to heavy rain for our area late Thursday into Friday. We’ll remain in the warmer, moist air mass through the weekend with additional heavy rain chances coming over the next week or two. There will be an increased risk of flooding, so please stay tuned to the forecast.


Overnight: Increasing clouds with a period of moderate rain around sunrise for most areas (earlier in Santa Cruz County and later in the south). Lows in the 40s with some inland spots dipping into the 30s. Breezy at times.

Wednesday: A few isolated showers in the south, then decreasing clouds across the area. Cool & breezy with highs in the 50s.

Thursday: Increasing clouds with light rain in the afternoon. Rain becomes heavy for the coastal mountains after dark. Southerly winds increasing, beginning to usher in warmer air. Highs in the 50s to around 60ºF.

… for the entire KION coverage area in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties in effect from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning.

A strong winter storm will impact the region Thursday into Friday with showers lingering into Saturday. This system is tapping into very moist subtropical moisture which will allow for moderate to periods of heavy precipitation. Latest model guidance suggests the coastal slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Lucia Mountains will receive the greatest accumulation of precipitation.

*Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible.

*Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Creeks and streams will see rapid rises. Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Low-water crossings may be flooded. Storm drains and ditches may become clogged with debris.

*Rainfall totals will range from 1.5 to 4 inches. Locally up to 6-8 inches over favored peaks and higher terrain of the Santa Lucia Mountains where prolonged moderate to heavy precipitation and higher rain rates are currently forecast. Pre-existing saturated soils will not be able to absorb
excess rainfall. Urban and small stream flooding is expected along with a 25% exceedance probability that some main stem rivers may rise above flood stage.

Continue to monitor the latest forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

Extended: Heavy rain continues in the coastal mountains into Friday with moderate rains elsewhere. Gusty southerly winds continue and temperatures rise into the 60s for most areas! Rain tapers off late Friday, but additional rounds will be possible into Saturday and maybe even Sunday. Highs return to normal (if not above) and lows will finally be back above normal. Another wet & heavy storm possible early next week.

This week's normal temperatures:

LOW: 45ºF
HIGH: 63ºF

LOW: 41ºF
HIGH: 67ºF


-The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for March 15th – 21st calls for the likelihood of BELOW normal temperatures and ABOVE normal precipitation.

- El Niño/La Niña STATUS: La Niña Advisory

- Forecast: Transition to neutral with possible El Niño developing this summer
-Area drought status: 
Moderate Drought (D1) for the northern Santa Cruz Mountains, San Benito County, southeastern Monterey County and southern Santa Clara County Abnormally dry (D0) for the rest of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties.

Article Topic Follows: Weather Authority

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Dann Cianca

Dann Cianca is the chief meteorologist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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