Flood watches have been issued for parts of California as an atmospheric river is expected to bring heavy rains across the state.
The National Weather Service warned of flooding potential in a number of areas in northern and central California as the winter storm hits the state Thursday and Friday.
“A storm arriving Thursday will bring a threat of flooding from a combination of heavy rain and snowmelt to lower elevations and foothills in California, especially below 5000 feet,” the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center forecasted.
The “atmospheric river” — a narrow strip of moisture capable of carrying intense rain and snow into the area from the tropics — is also predicted to impact parts of Oregon and Nevada.
The storm is also expected to bring strong winds and thunderstorms, and flooding spurred on by the rains could continue into next week. The NWS notes the foothills of the Sierra Nevada will be most vulnerable.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has declared a state of emergency in nearly three dozen counties due to the harsh weather, expanding Wednesday on an earlier proclamation to get ahead of the atmospheric river.
The forecasted rains come as California recovers from a massive winter storm that blanketed the West Coast state with snow last month.
“More storms are coming – stay safe,” Newsom said.