Twin storms were forecast to batter California this week, the second one likely to provide the latest of almost a dozen atmospheric rivers to deluge the state in recent months.
The National Weather Service forecast periods of heavy rain and heavy snowfall for the Sierra Nevada with wind gusts reaching 50 mph over the next few days.
“After a tranquil Saturday, active weather is expected to overspread much of the West,” the weather service warned.
The first storm had already begun ushering Pacific moisture into California on Sunday and was forecast to spread north quickly up the Pacific Northwest.”
AccuWeather meteorologists warn that twin storms could deliver “significant” precipitation to Northern California before sweeping down to the southern part of the state.
“Any vigorous downpours could further exacerbate river flooding concerns in Northern California,” AccuWeather meteorologist La Troy Thornton warned.
The second storm, arriving Tuesday, will likely include characteristics of an atmospheric river – a long, flowing region of the atmosphere that carries water vapor through the sky, AccuWeather said. That storm will bring even heavier rain and mountain snow into Wednesday, AccuWeather said.
STORMS SWEEP CENTRAL US:Blizzard conditions possible
►The second storm is likely to focus on Southern California, the ample availability of moisture sending rainfall amounts skyrocketing, AccuWeather said.
►Heavy rain is expected to affect the Los Angeles area Tuesday, and widespread flooding possible. As of March 18, downtown Los Angeles has picked up 24.06 inches of rain since November, more than twice its normal total for the date.
Whiteout in Michigan: Scores of cars crash on interstate
Lake-effect snow showers will continue mainly downwind of the lower Great Lakes early Sunday, the weather service said. In Michigan, Interstate 96 near Portland was fully open Sunday, hours after scores vehicles were involved in a pileup in whiteout conditions. Michigan State Police officials said they closed both eastbound and westbound I-96 just after 5 p.m. on Saturday following the crash on the eastbound lanes. There were whiteout conditions prior to the pileup of up to 100 cars, but the sun was out and skies had cleared by the time they released an image showing the wreckage. Injuries were reported but none were serious, police said.
Video obtained by the State Journal showed many vehicles collided with the cable barrier separating the eastbound and westbound lanes.
Conditions quickly worsened and visibility grew poor just prior to the pileup. Some drivers bumped into guard rails, while others couldn’t stop and slammed into cars ahead of them.
Floodwaters trap hikers in Grand Canyon
Floodwaters are beginning to recede in the Havasupai Tribe area near Grand Canyon National Park, where tourists were trapped overnight over the weekend, the tribe said on its Facebook page. Tribal guides were leading hikers around the creek waters into the village on a back trail. The tribe reported Friday that flooding had washed away a bridge to the campground, and an unknown number of campers were evacuated Saturday, including some by helicopter. The area is deep in a gorge, reachable only by foot, helicopter, horse or mule.
“No cameras, no pictures as you are guided through areas that are generally closed to tourists,” the Facebook post said. “These are sacred sites so please be respectful and follow directions. We are doing all we can to make reasonable accommodations.”
Contributing: The Associated Press