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Wind & Flood Threat

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

A strong storm system combined with a moderate atmospheric river will continue to bring gusty winds and heavy rain overnight into Friday. A storm like this would be serious by itself, but compounded with saturated soils from our wet winter, it will likely reach the next level. Streams in the coastal mountains area are likely to flood with possible flooding for inland streams. Strong winds may cause power outages, road closures and/or property damage. Occasional rain will continue this weekend, though it won’t be as intense. Two additional atmospheric river events are possible, however. One on Tuesday and another by the end of the week. These would likely exacerbate existing flooding. Another thing worth mentioning will be the warmer weather brought on by this sub-tropical air mass.



… for the San Lorenzo River from Felton to Santa Cruz until 7:45AM Friday

*At 1151 PM PST, Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated heavy rain falling in San Lorenzo River near Big Trees, which is currently at 12.58 feet and rapidly rising. San Lorenzo River at Big Trees is forecast to reach major flood stage of 22 feet by 5 AM PST. Between 3 and 4 inches of rain have fallen. Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible in the warned area. Flash flooding is expected to begin after midnight.

Life threatening flash flooding. Heavy rain producing flash flooding of creeks and streams,
urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses.

Some locations that will experience flash flooding include... Felton… this includes the following streams and drainages...
Carbonera Creek, Gold Gulch and San Lorenzo River.

Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.

… for the near coastal waters along Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties including Monterey Bay in effect until 9AM Friday.  

*Southeast winds 25 to 35 kt with gusts up to 50 kt. (slightly lesser in the bay). Seas 6 to 11 ft.

*Strong winds will cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility.

Mariners should alter plans to avoid these hazardous conditions. Remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe conditions.

… for portions of Santa Cruz County from the city of Santa Cruz east to Day Valley and all areas south and east to the Monterey County line in effect until 8:30AM Friday

Rain, heavy at times, will continue through the afternoon Friday. Gauges at Soquel Creek and Corralitos Creek have risen rapidly, so flooding is likely occuring near these creeks.

-Urban and small stream flooding caused by excessive rainfall is expected.

-Minor flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas. River or stream flows are elevated.

- At 137 AM PST, Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated heavy rain. This will cause urban and small stream flooding. Between 1.5 and 3 inches of rain have fallen.
- Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are expected over the area. This additional rain will result in minor flooding.
- Some locations that will experience flooding include... Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Corralitos, Capitola, Live Oak, Freedom, Amesti, Rio Del Mar, Aptos, Brown Valley Road, Interlaken, Soquel, Opal Cliffs, Twin Lakes, Aptos Hills- Larkin, Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley, Day Valley and Pajaro.

Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.

Be aware of your surroundings and do not drive on flooded roads.

…for the entire KION viewing area in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties in effect until 4pm Friday.

*South winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected.

*Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

… for the entire KION coverage area in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties in effect 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.

Overnight: Periods of heavy rain and gusty winds. Flooding likely for coastal streams and poorly drained areas. Scattered street flooding also likely. Lows in the 50s for most areas.

Friday: Temperatures will bump into the 60s during the day. Rain & wind will slowly taper off during the day but additional heavier bursts will be possible. The flooding threat will be highest early in the day on small streams.

… for the Carmel River in effect from Friday afternoon until further notice.

*Minor flooding is forecast.

*At 8.5 feet, Low lying homes from Camp Steffani to below Robles del Rio will begin to flood. Old Odello Ranch near Carmel begins to flood. Homes along Paso Hondo and Dampierre Park
subject to flooding.

- At 1:15 PM PST Thursday the stage was 3.2 feet.
- Forecast...The river is expected to rise above flood stage early tomorrow afternoon to a crest of 8.7 feet tomorrow afternoon. It will then fall below flood stage tomorrow evening.

- Flood stage is 8.5 feet.

- Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of 9.0 feet on 01/14/2023.

Extended: 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 roughly around Tuesday and perhaps another late in the week.

This week's normal temperatures:

LOW: 45ºF
HIGH: 63ºF

LOW: 41ºF
HIGH: 67ºF


-The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for March 17th – 23rd 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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