Mid-January 2016 brings continued storminess to the West Coast, a result of El Niño. This time, the storminess is across the northwestern portion of the coast where things had been off to a dry start. This pattern shift eases conditions in the southeastern United States — temporarily.
The threat of flood damage is real for those in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, according to meteorologists. From Seattle down to northern California, heavy rains are expected to be enough to renew a flooding threat. It had been relatively dry in the Seattle and Medford, Oregon areas in the beginning of January, but the ground is still saturated from heavy rain in December, leading to the flooding risk.
That area received more than double its usual amount of rainfall in December.
There is a risk of ponding, hydroplaning and other road hazards related to the rain for those traveling on I-5 from northern California all the way to Canada. Winds could also gust as high as 40 miles per hour.
Still, the rainfall helps the continuing drought situation in the region.
This round of rain is expected to largely bypass San Diego and the rest of Southern California and the Southwest, where some residents and businesses are still cleaning up flood damage and mudslides caused by heavy rains and storms in January’s first week.
While the worst impacts in the Northwest will be confined to the coastal areas, there will be enough cold air blanketing the region for precipitation in the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon to turn to snow in the mountains. A mix of rain and snow is expected in many areas, with some places getting rain in the daytime and snow after dark when temperatures drop.
El Niño and its extreme impacts are far from over, with the greatest potential for more flood damage along the East Coast this season in coastal areas and in low-lying areas where flooding has happened in previous heavy rain events.