Atmospheric river events are threatening to slam Washington state and other parts of the Pacific Northwest with more heavy rains from Thanksgiving night, the National Weather service warns.
Why it matters: The region is still recovering from last week’s storm that brought record rainfall, flooding and mudslides, with Washington and Canada’s British Columbia particularly badly hit.
- Officials in Washington are still assessing the cost of the severe storm, but they said it could hit $50 million in Whatcom County, in the state’s northwest, per AP.
- Over the border in Canada, the storm system was due to hit some B.C. areas where flood recovery efforts were still under way, with the Fraser Valley expecting up to 2 more inches of rain to fall by Friday morning, CBC News reports.
Threat level: A “new Atmospheric River containing rich subtropical Pacific moisture takes aim at the Pacific Northwest is set to generate moderate-to-heavy rainfall on Thursday night and again on Saturday, according to the latest NWS forecast.
- “A prolonged stretch of moderate-to-heavy rainfall combined with rapid snow melt could lead to excess runoff,” the agency said.
- “This may result in quickly rising creeks and streams, making localized flooding a possibility in parts of western Washington.
“Locally heavy rainfall is also possible in far northwestern Oregon, but the heaviest rainfall totals (1 to 3 inches) are most likely to occur in the Olympics and northern Cascades. “
What’s next: There’ll be a brief respite Friday, but more heavy rain is expected to arrive late Saturday, according to the agency.
- “This next Atmospheric River event is expected to produce an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain across the Olympics and northern Cascades beginning Saturday afternoon, with locally higher amounts possible,” the NWS said.
- “Given the recent periods of heavy rainfall, flooding and excessive runoff will undoubtedly be a concern once again.”
Meanwhile, residents in Southern California are facing an intense Santa Ana wind event through Friday. High wind warnings have been posted along the mountain ranges and coastal regions.
- “Widespread wind gusts of 35 to 60 mph are expected with damaging gusts up to 75 mph possible in the mountains and foothills,” the NWS said.
- This combined with “dangerously low humidity levels” has triggered red flag and critical risk wildfire warnings to be issued issued by the Storm Prediction Center for much of the Southern California mountains and adjacent foothills.
Editor’s note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.