Residents of California are being warned to be ready for the Pineapple Express storm system that’s moving into their state. The National Weather Service said late Tuesday that a “major” storm is heading toward the northern part of California and is expected to dump anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of rain which could cause significant flash flooding. People were being told that the commute to work Thursday morning in Northern California will be a wet one with gusting winds with speeds upward of 40 miles per hour. By the time evening rolls around, things won’t improve much as heavy rain will most likely continue falling along with strong winds. This storm has taken the shape of an atmospheric river which is a condition often described as a type of horizontal hurricane. Winds swirling in the upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour are funneling into a narrow band, drawing warm, moist air all the way across the Pacific Ocean. That funnel is what will be emptying on the Golden State.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for several communities in Northern California as heavy snow and whipping winds are being forecast for that part of the state Wednesday through Thursday afternoon. Because of the long drought in California and the intensity of this storm system, many forecasters believe that California is in for a “major” weather event as the rain and snow could very well cause all types of problems including flooding, mud and rock slides, road closures, and building/structure damage due to strong gusting winds.
Strong atmospheric river storms like this Pineapple Express are responsible for the worst flooding events ever to take place in California. While the flooding from this particular storm is not expected to be catastrophic, it could be very serious due to the ground already being saturated from last week’s rainfall. Moderate flooding could very well take place along large rivers such as the Eel, Russian and Sacramento rivers. Forecasters say that the flooding could be even worse if the storm system loses steam and remains stationary over a particular area which is something that’s very possible. The heaviest rain will come down on Thursday in Northern California with higher elevations possibly getting several feet of snow instead of rain