Heavy rain and winds along west coast leave thousands without power, and more storms expected


A powerful storm system bringing heavy rain, mountain snow and hurricane-force wind gusts to much of the arid western United States left more than 60,000 customers without power as the region is preparing for wetter and windier weather in the coming days.

Eight western states are under winter weather alert as of 3:00 p.m. PT (6:00 p.m. ET) Wednesday. Oregon accounts for about 70% of blackouts, followed by Washington and California, according to PowerOutage.us.

The region is flooded by an atmospheric river — a long, narrow region in the atmosphere that can carry moisture for thousands of miles — as much of the eastern United States recovers from a deadly winter storm that left large swaths of the country in dangerously cold temperatures.

In the west, a first wave of driving rain, wind and snow has moved inland and is expected to engulf inter-mountainous areas on Wednesday. While coastal states may experience a brief lull, more bouts of rain and snow are expected to sweep the shoreline by the end of the week.

Winds whipped over 100 mph in some cities on Tuesday, reaching Category 2 hurricane levels. A gust of 107 mph was reported in Mount Hood, Oregon, and a gust of 104 mph was recorded in North Bonneville, Washington. Wind speeds between 80 and 90 mph were reported Tuesday in several cities, including a 90 mph gust in Walker, California.

“This unstable weather pattern is also expected to persist into the weekend ahead,” the National Weather Center said.

Several more cycles of moisture will flood the West this week, bringing temporary relief to a region suffering from prolonged drought.

California’s snowpack could benefit from storms. The critical water source that suffered from a severe drought was operating at more than 150% of normal levels as of the end of last week, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

Now, widespread rain totals of 2 to 4 inches are expected in the region through Sunday, with isolated areas receiving up to 6 inches. Northern California could see rainfall of up to 7 inches, with higher isolated amounts.

A thunderstorm moved through San Francisco and the Bay Area on Tuesday.

The first wave affected parts of Southern California and the Four Corners region, including parts of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Low-level precipitation and high-level snowfall left California late Wednesday morning and is expected to remain in the Four Corners area through Thursday.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl