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A Break From The Rain For Now

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

Take a breath! Drier, calmer weather is expected into Thursday and for the most part on Friday, but we remain in an active pattern. Several weather systems will move through in the next week or so with increasing intensity. The first on Friday may bring a few sprinkles to an isolated shower. The next Saturday night into Sunday is likely to bring light to moderate rain. Then a stronger system arrives Monday/Tuesday with moderate to heavy rain and gusty winds.


… for the breach of a levee around river mile 10 of the Pajaro River until noon Thursday.

Flooding caused by a levee failure continues.

*Flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations is imminent or occurring. This includes the city of Pajaro.

- At 851 PM PDT, flooding will continue due to a levee failure on the Pajaro River.
- Some locations that will experience flooding include... Pajaro.

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

Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life.

Keep children away from storm drains, culverts, creeks and streams. Water levels can rise rapidly and sweep children away.

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

… for the lower Salinas River from Soledad to Monterey Bay in effect from Sunday afternoon until further notice.

*Minor flooding is forecast. The Salinas River is forecast to reach minor flood stage by this afternoon and will continue rising, approaching moderate flood stage Monday evening.

*IMPACTS…At 23.0 feet, A few farm residences will begin to flood near the Salinas River along the reach of the gage. River Road will begin to flood near Spreckels.

- At 24.0 feet, Significant flooding of the lowest portions of agricultural land begins within the reach of the gage. River Road and Spreckels Boulevard begin to flood.

- At 26.0 feet, Moderate flooding of agricultural land and lower portions of Soledad, Gonzales, Chualar, Spence and Spreckels. Primary and secondary roads begin to flood within the reach.
Highway 68 begins to flood. Levees in danger of breaching along the reach. At least 20,000 acres of farm land inundated in the Salinas Valley.

- At 27.0 feet, Moderate flooding continues along the reach. Approaches to river bridges within the reach begin to erode. Lower portions of Castroville begin to flood. Highway 156 near Castroville begins to flood. Flooding to Foster Road, 1 mile of Salinas.

-At 28.0 feet, Major flooding of agricultural land within the reach of the gages. Major flooding begins along lower portions of Soledad, Gonzales, Chualar, Spence, Spreckels and Castroville. Water/sewage treatment plants in danger of being flooded. Many secondary and some primary roads inundated making travel difficult in the Salinas Valley. Highway 156 and 68 inundated and closed. Major damage to wide expanses of agricultural land in the Salinas Valley with 40,000 acres inundated.

- At 2:00 PM PDT Wednesday the stage was 23.9 feet.

  - Recent Activity...The maximum river stage in the 24 hours ending at 11:00 AM PDT Wednesday was 24.0 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to briefly fall below flood stage just after midnight tonight before rising back into flood stage late Thursday evening.

  - Flood stage is 23.0 feet.

    Moderate flood stage is 26 feet.

    Major flood stage is 28 feet.

  - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of 26.5 feet on 02/26/1969.

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

Moderate flooding is forecasted.

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.

* IMPACTS...At 14 ft, Minor lowland flooding is expected.

- At 16 ft, Minor flooding of agricultural land is expected. The lower portions of the San Ardo oil fields is close to flooding.

...At 18 ft, Minor flooding begins at the San Ardo oil fields.Significant flooding occurs along the lowest portions of towns from Bradley to Soledad. Erosion will cause minor damage to agricultural land. Some secondary roads from Bradley to Soledad will flood.

- - At 1:30 PM PDT Wednesday the stage was 17.2 feet.

  - Recent Activity...The maximum river stage in the 24 hours ending at 1:30 PM PDT Wednesday was 17.2 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to rise to a crest around 17.3 feet this afternoon.

  - Flood stage is 14.0 feet.

…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 below the 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 1:30 PM PDT Wednesday the stage was 19.2 feet.

  - Forecast...The river crested around 19.5 feet this morning. The level is slowly receding.

  - Flood stage is 32.0 feet.

Overnight: Mostly clear skies with patchy fog possible in low areas. Cooler with lows in the 30s for most areas, 30s to low 40s on the coast. Patchy frost for inland valleys.

… for the Santa Cruz County including the Santa Cruz Mountains into Santa Clara County n effect from midnight tonight until 9AM Thursday

*Temperatures between 34 to 38 may result in frost formation and otherwise cold conditions.

Cold conditions will impact displaced and unsheltered populations, and people experiencing power outages. It can also damage crops or other sensitive vegetation.

Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold.

Thursday: Mostly sunny and a little cool with highs in the 50s to low 60s. Breezy at times.

Friday: Partly cloudy with an isolated shower or a few sprinkles possible. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Extended: A weather system moves in late Saturday into Sunday bringing light to moderate rain and breezy conditions. A stronger system arrives Monday into Tuesday with potentially heavier rain and gusty winds. A cold weather pattern looks to follow for the rest of next week.

This week's normal temperatures:

LOW: 45ºF
HIGH: 64ºF

LOW: 42ºF
HIGH: 68ºF

-The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for March 23rd – 29th calls for the likelihood of BELOW normal temperatures and ABOVE normal precipitation.

- El Niño/La Niña STATUS: Neutral

- Forecast: Neutral through the summer with eventual development of El Niño
-Area drought status: 
Abnormally dry for the Santa Cruz Mountains, the lower valleys of San Benito County, and southern Santa Clara County

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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