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Impending Atmospheric River Threatens West Coast with Deluge and Gale Force Winds

Series of Two to Three Storms Could Cause Heavy Rain, High Surf and Winds

A significant atmospheric river has been forecast to cross over the West Coast, particularly impacting California and the interior regions of the Southwest. The event, consisting of between two to three storms expected from January 30 to February 6, 2024, could result in heavy rainfall, high winds, and significant snowfall at elevated altitudes, as well as high tides, according to a press release from the National Weather Service of Los Angeles. 

Starting on January 31 and extending through February 4, there is a substantial 70% or higher chance of above-average precipitation from California eastward into the Central and Southern Intermountain regions. Coastal areas of Northern California are at a growing risk of heavy rain from January 31, with the potential for the rain to move south along the California coast, accompanied by heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Between February 2 and February 5, there is a high-risk forecast (greater than 60% chance) for hazardous precipitation in southern California and the southern Intermountain region. Additionally, a more extensive area faces moderate risk (40 to 60% chance) from February 2 to February 6, covering central and southern California, the southern Intermountain region, the Desert Southwest, and the southern Rockies. The heavy precipitation may lead to localized flooding and landslides, especially in areas that have recently experienced significant rainfall. In the southern half of the Intermountain West, higher elevations are expected to receive heavy snow.

Southern California and the southern Intermountain region are likely to experience hazardous, high winds from January 30 to February 4. These winds could result in coastal erosion due to persistently high waves.

Residents are advised to stay informed about shorter-term forecasts, as the specific impacts for individual locations remain uncertain within this extended forecast range. Precautionary measures and preparedness are recommended to mitigate potential risks associated with the upcoming atmospheric river event.

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