Roads flood, snow piles up as first of two atmospheric rivers pummels California

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An atmospheric river deluged California in rain and snow Thursday, resulting in roadways being flooded and snow piling up in mountains in the Golden State.

The storm reached eastern and Southern California after hitting the Bay Area Wednesday. The atmospheric river, a band of moisture that forms over the Pacific, caused storms that drenched both the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, National Weather Service (NWS) forecaster Bob Oravec said, according to The Associated Press.

In a Friday forecast discussion, the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center noted that another atmospheric river “may begin to impact portions of California as early as Saturday night, and likely by Sunday morning.”

The Weather Prediction Center warned earlier this week that an atmospheric river would build through the week.

“A combination of strong dynamic forcing as well as a deep, anomalously high stream of moisture moving into southwestern Oregon and northern California will lead to very heavy rainfall, with totals of several inches possible,” the forecast discussion read.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has activated its operations center, with the office’s deputy director of crisis communications, Brian Ferguson, saying that the situation is “a significant threat to the safety of Californians,” according to the AP.

“This really is a broad sweep of California that’s going to see threats over the coming week,” Ferguson said.

Twelve to 14 inches of snow overnight was reported by the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the Sierra Nevada. Heavy snow was also reported in the mountains outside of Los Angeles.

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