FLOODING RAINFALL AHEAD FOR KERN
A lovely day was enjoyed on Monday with highs breaking the 70° barrier in the South Valley. But the heaviest rainfall of the year is setting up to drench our region within the next 72 hours.
The well advertised low pressure system, first spoken of about a week ago, is due to channel tropical moisture northeastward into California by Tuesday afternoon. First drops will fall as sprinkles or light rain Tuesday afternoon and persist into the Tuesday evening. But at least two other waves of thick moisture from the tropics will affect Kern County and much of southern California Wednesday through early on Friday morning Computer forecasts are showing fairly high confidence in a significant rainstorm on the order of once in 10 years. This should certainly be the heaviest organized rain event since last winter's drought busting rainfall. A general threat for precipitation begins Tuesday evening and lasts through Friday morning.
This is a warm and wet system, therefore no snow is forecast for our area until possibly Friday morning as cooler air replaces the tropical air mass. It is an atmospheric river, commonly called the "Pineapple Express", that will be streaming rain into California during this period. For mountain areas, between 2.00" and 3.50" is anticipated- with up to 4" of rain in the Greenhorn mountains west of Lake Isabella. Additionally, the Piute mountains will see extreme rainfall. Tehachapi and Frazier Park can expect 2 to 3" of rain. Widespread flooding of creeks is likely. Mudslides and rock slides are also likely, especially in the Kern River Canyon. Burn scars are the most prone to see dangerous mudslides.
In the South Valley, between .75" and 1.75" are forecast. Heaviest precipitation is predicted to occur Wednesday and Thursday. A deep low pressure system is the cause of this wet event. Very strong southerly winds are forecast on Thursday that may require a High Wind WATCH later on. Those high winds will also tend to maximize our rain shadow effect. Hence, a few areas in the South Valley will see relatively little rain when compared to other locales. My biggest concern in for resident in the Santa Barbara area that could see a repeat of the deadly mudslides in January from the Thomas burn scar.
Skies will clear by late Friday with a cooling trend. Nice weather is forecast for the upcoming weekend.
If Meadows Field picks up 1.28" out of this event, Bakersfield will be tied for 10th wettest March. It's a miracle! Our severe drought will be dealt a serious blow.
Chief Meteorologist MILES MUZIO- March 19, 2018 7:08 PM
Today's Record Temperatures