California emergency officials warned residents to get ready for a series of windy storms that may snap trees and drop 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain in higher elevations.
By the time the three storms end this weekend, San Francisco may receive 6 inches of rain and be whipped by winds of 35 to 45 miles (56 to 72 kilometers) per hour, said Logan Johnson, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey, California.
“The impacts are going to be pretty far-reaching,” Johnson said by telephone. “Most of the state of California is going to be receiving rain, wind and snow in the high elevations.”
Gale warnings stretch from Olympia, Washington, to central California and high-wind warnings and watches reach from Oregon to Monterey, south of San Francisco. The California Emergency Management Agency urged residents to prepare for power failures and mudslides and to plot escape routes in case of flooding.
“Even though California has a robust emergency response system and a significant number of resources, it’s critical that the public take a personal interest in preparing for this storm, and the storms that will follow through the winter season,” Mark Ghilarducci, secretary of the agency, said in a statement.
Johnson said the first storm will arrive late today with high winds and about 0.5 inch of rain for San Francisco. The next two storms are expected to drench the region for the rest of the week.
The heavy rain may trigger mudslides, especially in areas where there have been wildfires, according to Ghilarducci. At elevations higher than 2,000 feet, wind may gust to 60 mph, Johnson said.
A large trough of low pressure that developed off the West Coast is acting as a conveyor to bring the storm systems in from the southwest to the northeast through the weekend, Johnson said. While the wind and rain won’t be as severe in southern California, the coast there is expected to be buffeted by high surf.
If the forecast models bear out, the storms may be some of the worst of the year, he said.
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