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River Flood Risk Remains

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

The strong storm system that brought wind damage and flooding to our area has moved on, but the atmospheric river remains. So, what does that mean for our forecast? At the very least, it will keep clouds and scattered showers in the mix for the next few days as moisture continues to stream across the area. While flooding of small streams is no longer a concern in the short term, area rivers (the Pajaro & Salinas) are still rising and will be monitored over the next few days. The next storm system arrives late Monday into Tuesday and will utilize the moisture stream to create heavy rain once again. The good news is that this system is moving much faster, so the heavy rain will fall over a shorter period of time. Still, flooding cannot be ruled out and may remain possible for small streams. Beyond that system (which could last into Wednesday with additional showers), the weather looks a bit more tranquil toward the end of next week.



…for a Levee Failure on the Pajaro River in Northwestern Monterey County and Southeastern Santa Cruz County

* Until 11:45am

* At 841 am Emergency Management reported a levee failure on the Pajaro River Near River Mile 10 causing flash flooding of immediately surrounding areas.

  HAZARD...Life threatening flash flooding from a levee failure.

  SOURCE...County Emergency Management.

  IMPACT...Life threatening flash flooding of areas near the levee break.

This includes the following streams and drainages, Elkhorn Slough and Pajaro River.


If you are in low lying areas along the you should move to higher

ground immediately. Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Keep children away from storm drains, culverts, creeks and streams. Water levels can rise rapidly and sweep children away.

... for the Salinas River from the San Luis Obispo County line to Soledad until further notice.

Moderate flooding is forecast.

Motorists should not attempt to drive around barricades or drive cars through flooded areas.

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.

The next statement will be issued Saturday morning at 1100 AM PST.

*At 20.0 feet, Moderate flooding occurs along the lower  portions of Bradley, San Ardo, San Lucas, King City, Greenfield and Soledad. Many of the secondary roads and some of the primary   roads along the Salinas River will flood. Major damage to farm land along the upper Salinas River is expected.

* - At 10:30 PM PST Friday the stage was 19.3 feet.
  - Recent Activity...The maximum river stage in the 24 hours ending at 10:30 PM PST Friday was 19.3 feet.
 - Forecast...The river is expected to rise to a crest of 20.0 feet just after midnight tonight.

  - Flood stage is 14.0 feet.

  - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of  20.3 feet on 02/24/1969.

…for Pajaro River at Chittenden in effect now until further notice.

*In coordination with the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency as well as Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties flooding is expected to occur below official flood stage along the Monterey County portion of the Pajaro River due to observed impacts from the January flood event.

*At 27.5 feet, Water may begin seeping under muscle wall along the Monterey County portion of the levees. At 28 feet, Levee along the Monterey County portion of the Pajaro may overtop. At 29.5 feet, Parts of State Highway 129 between US Highway 101 and Watsonville will flood. The entire Pajaro River will have moderate bank erosion and sediment deposition.

*  - At 10:30 PM PST Friday the stage was 29.1 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to rise to a crest of 29.6  feet just after midnight tonight.

  - Flood stage is 32.0 feet.

  - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of 29.5 feet on 01/03/1997.

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

Flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be 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 .25 to 1 inches for most urban areas with 1 to 2 inches in the coastal ranges and inland hills. Locally higher amounts possible over favored peaks and higher terrain of the Santa Lucia Mountains where prolonged moderate to heavy precipitation that has already occurred. Soils are saturated and will not be able to absorb additional rainfall and therefore will quickly turn into runoff.

You should monitor later 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: Mostly cloudy with rounds of isolated showers. Some showers could produce brief moderate to heavy rain. Patchy fog possible. Expect lows in the mid 40s to low 50s.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers. A chance of thunderstorms inland. Thunderstorms could produce brief heavy downpours and gusty winds. Overall winds will breezy throughout the day. Expect highs in the mid 50s to mid 60s with the warmer readings found mainly south of Monterey Bay.

Sunday: Partly sunny skies, with rounds of scattered showers. Between showers, could see pockets of sunshine. Southwest winds will continue to be breezy. Slightly warmer yet, with daytime highs in the low to mid 60s.  

Extended: Rain and wind pick up again Monday as the next storm system approaches. Rain could be heavy at times into Tuesday with occasional gusty winds. Then, partial clearing with showers lasting into Wednesday. Dryer weather expected Thu/Fri

This week's normal temperatures:

LOW: 45ºF
HIGH: 63ºF

LOW: 41ºF
HIGH: 67ºF


-The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for March 18th – 24th 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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