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Flood Alerts in Place and More to Come with Another AR Event on the Way

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

Muggy, showery weather continues this weekend while we monitor flooding of the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers. The next storm system arrives late Monday into Tuesday and will utilize the moisture stream to create heavy rain once again. Damaging winds and flooding appear likely again, so remain vigilant. 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 near river mile 10 in effect until 11:15AM Monday

*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 854 AM PDT, Flooding continues due to a levee failure on the Pajaro River near river mile 10.

- Additional rainfall amounts of 0.1 to 0.3 inches are possible in the warned area today.

- Some locations that will experience flooding include... Pajaro.

Keep children away from storm drains, culverts, creeks and streams. Water levels can rise rapidly and sweep children away.
Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.


…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 9:30 AM PST Sunday, March 12 the stage was 27.14 feet.

  - Forecast...The river has crested and will continue to gradually recede. The river is expected to fall below monitor stage Sunday night.

  - Flood stage is 32.0 feet.

  - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of  29.5 feet on 01/03/1997 and 27.7 feet on 01/11/2023.

... 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.

*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 9:30 AM PST Sunday, March 12 the stage was 14.38 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to fall below flood stage this afternoon.

  - Flood stage is 14.0 feet.

… 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 homes near the Salinas River along the reach of the river gage will begin to flood. River Road near Spreckels will have minor flooding.

...At 24.0 feet, The lowest areas of agricultural land along the lower portions of the Salinas River will have significant flooding. River Road will have moderate flooding. Spreckels Boulevard will begin to flood.

...At 26.0 feet, The lower portions of Soledad, Gonzales, Chualar, Spence and Spreckels will have moderate flooding. At least 20,000 acres of farm land in the Salinas Valley are threatened with flooding. Levees along the lower Salinas River could breach. Some primary and many secondary roads along the Salinas River will begin to flood. Highway 68 will become inundated.

...At 27.0 feet, The lower portions of Castroville will begin to flood. Foster Road, one mile south of Salinas will flood. Highway 156 near Castroville will begin to flood. Many secondary roads in
the Salinas Valley will be flooded and impassable. Large areas of agricultural land in the Salinas Valley will have major flood damage.

*- At 9:00 AM PST Sunday the stage was 22.87 feet.

- Forecast...The river is expected to rise above flood stage this afternoon and continue rising to a crest of 25.7 feet Monday evening.

- Flood stage is 23.0 feet. Moderate flood stage is 26 feet.

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

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.

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

Monday: Partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy. Light (drizzle) possible by the evening with widespread, heavier rain late Monday night. Winds out of the southwest will be breezy earlier in the day, becoming stronger after sunrise. Highs will be warmer  

… for the entire KION Coverage area in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties in effect from 11PM Monday until 5AM Wednesday.

*Southerly winds 20 to 40 mph with gusts 50 mph in the valleys. Gusts 55 to 70 mph immediate coastline and hills above 1000 feet.

*Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

*Southerly winds will quickly increase during the overnight hours of Monday into early Tuesday morning as the first slug of energy arrives with the atmospheric river. Winds may ease slightly for a time on Tuesday then turn southwest as strong surface low pressure passes over the region.
Expect downed trees and limbs to lead to renewed power outages across the region.

People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.

…for the entire KION viewing area including Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and southern Santa Clara counties.

*In effect Monday evening through late Tuesday night.

*Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is likely.

*Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks. Extensive street flooding and flooding of creeks and rivers is likely.

- Rivers and streams are still running high and or out of their banks at this time. Periods of light rain will continue this weekend through Monday. By Monday night into Tuesday another strong atmospheric river will arrive bringing another round of heavy rain to the region. 3 to 7 inches of rain is
forecast for the coastal hills with 1 to 3 inches in the valleys.

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.

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 19th – 25th 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: Local Forecast

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.


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